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Itō Seiu Ghost Paintings Summon Up Spirits of Edo

Japan’s rich tradition of ghost stories has inspired the artistic genre of ghost paintings. This summer, the Edo-Tokyo Museum is holding an exhibition featuring works by the artist Itō Seiu.
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Cai Guo-Qiang Makes a “Homecoming” to JapanDemura Kōichi (Text)/Izumiya Gensaku (Photographs)

Weaving motifs from Chinese culture, history, and thought, Cai Guo-Qiang began creating gunpowder drawings while living in Japan. What does the country mean for this world-leading contemporary artist?
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“Washi” (Japanese Paper)

Washi, or handmade Japanese paper, is still produced in every part of Japan. In 2014, UNESCO inscribed three of the most important washi traditions in its list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
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“Shodō” (Japanese Calligraphy)

Practitioners of the traditional art of shodō use brush and ink to shape Japanese kanji and kana. Recently, the contemporary twist of performance in front of an audience has gained the calligraphic art new fans.
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Ōmura Satoshi’s Art Museum: A Nobel Winner’s GenerosityNippon.com Staff

Ōmura Satoshi, emeritus professor at Kitasato University, has cemented his reputation as a world-class researcher by becoming a joint winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is also known as a lover of fine art, though. In 2007 he donated a considerable collection of artworks, along with a new museum to house them, to the city of Nirasaki, Yamanashi Prefecture, where he …
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When Japonism Bewitched EuropeWatanabe Hirotaka

Today art from Japan has worldwide cultural impact and is a familiar part of the global artistic scene. Up through the early modern era, though, Japanese art was a bolt from the blue—something entirely new to viewers overseas, who saw it as something fresh and surprisingly sophisticated. This was the dawn of Japonism.
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Experimental Music from Japan: Folk Roots, Noise RoutesDavid McMahon

Despite Japan’s lucrative domestic music scene (recent tribulations notwithstanding), few mainstream Japanese artists have achieved significant success outside of Asia. There may have been recent sold-out tours in the West for the likes of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Babymetal, but their songs are not the ones sought by discerning sound-seekers overseas. For many of these aficionados, the buzzword tends…
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Five Greats of Japanese Woodblock PrintingNippon.com Staff

The woodblock print, or hanga, has played a centuries-long role in the history of Japanese art. The Edo-period masters, like Hokusai and Hiroshige, produced images that are familiar to people all around the world today, but this is a deep genre with many lesser-known creators of similar skill. Below we present five images by five artists worth looking into in more depth.  Utamaro, Kushi (Comb)…
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Architecture and the Blueprint for Gender Equality: Interview with Venice Biennale Commissioner Ōta Kayoko

Ōta Kayoko was appointed the commissioner of the Japanese Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, becoming the first woman to hold that position. In this interview, Ōta discusses how working overseas fostered her own global outlook and offers recommendations for Japan to transform its social outlook.
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Mountains, Mummies, and Modern Art: Ascetic Practice in Yamagata PrefectureDavid McMahon

For over a thousand years, Yamagata Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan side of the northern Tōhoku region, has drawn pilgrims and mystics to its mountains. As the native Shintō faith intertwined with imported Buddhism, Yamagata became the site for scores of shrines and temples, some of which remain to the present day. The holiest of all the sites in the region are the three sacred mountains of Dew…
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