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A Treasure Trove of Early Japanese Animation

A new website from the National Film Center at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, allows viewers around the world to see early animated films from Japan. Read on for a guide to some of the highlights.
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Munakata Shikō’s Work Replaced with Photocopy, Seen Stolen (News)

Yokohama, April 17 (Jiji Press)—The Kanagawa prefectural government said Monday a woodblock print made by the woodblock printmaker Munakata Shikō (1903–75) has been missing for three years since the real work of the noted artist was found to have been replaced with a photocopy. The print may have been stolen, the prefectural government said, adding that it is consulting with police. Accordin…
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Three Utamaro Paintings Reunite in US Art Gallery (News)

Washington, April 7 (Jiji Press)—The Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington will start an exhibition on Saturday reuniting a set of three works by Japanese ukiyo-e painter Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806) for the first time in nearly 140 years. The three Utamaro works stand together for the first time in nearly 140 years at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in the Smithsonian. The exhib…
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Tanaka Mizuki: The Young Woman Keeping the Tradition of Bathhouse Paintings Alive

Many traditional neighborhood bathhouses are decorated with huge murals, often featuring Mount Fuji. Today, this tradition is kept alive by just three specialized artists. We spend the day with one of them, a young painter looking to carry the form into the future.
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Araki Nobuyoshi: An Artistic Rebel, UnbowedIizawa Kōtarō

Araki Nobuyoshi began his career as a rebel and is now one of the world’s reigning masters of photography. A critic and close friend of the artist looks back over Araki’s prolific and sometimes tempestuous life.
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Love Forever: The Genius of Kusama YayoiTatehata Akira

With major exhibitions opening in Japan and North America this year, 87-year-old Kusama Yayoi, known for her “obsessive” repetition of polka dots and reticulated patterns, is one of the most widely admired figures on the contemporary art scene today. Longtime champion Tatehata Akira traces the roots and evolution of her eccentric yet highly compelling idiom, from the “naked happenings” of the 1960s to the dazzling “pumpkin” installations of recent years.
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“Irezumi”: The Japanese Tattoo UnveiledYamamoto Yoshimi

Prized as the epitome of urban cool in the Edo period and outlawed as backward during the Meiji era, tattooing has had a checkered history in Japan. Cultural anthropologist Yamamoto Yoshimi provides a brief survey of irezumi from ancient times to the present.
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The Roots of Mindfulness: Hakuin Ekaku and the Art of Zen

Zen Buddhism has had a profound impact on Japanese society and culture. Today the influence of Zen “mindfulness” is felt throughout the world. In this article we look at the human side of the great Zen masters of the past and the ways in which Zen continues to be relevant to people in contemporary society.
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New Hokusai Museum Showcases Japan’s Most Celebrated ArtistBrigitte Koyama-Richard

A new museum dedicated to Japan’s artistic giant Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) has opened in the municipality of Sumida in Tokyo. Best known for his iconic print The Great Wave off Kanagawa, Hokusai was an important influence on Western artists like Monet and Van Gogh.
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Illustrating Miyazawa Kenji (Photo Gallery)

Designer Kobayashi Toshiya brings classic stories by Miyazawa Kenji to life in a series of illustrated books.
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