Ishibashi International Symposium

Modern Japanese Art and China

Program and Abstracts

Click titles to see abstracts

Keynote

 

   China and Modern Japanese Culture: Obvious or Counter-intuitive?

        Joshua A. Fogel

        Canada Research Chair, Professor, York University

 

 

Session 1:  Forging Connections: Japan, China, and Beyond

 

   Literati Art and Sino-Japanese Exchanges      

        Kuiyi Shen

        Professor, University of California, San Diego

   Modern Japanese Gardens and China       

        Toshio Watanabe

        Professor, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures

 

   Metal Stone Studies (Jinshixue) and the Japanese Art World:

   The Transcultural Context of Yu Rang by Hirafuku Hyakusui

        Tamaki Maeda

        Independent Scholar

 

   Inukai Tsuyoshi and the Okayama Literati Circle:  

   Entrepreneurship, Politics, and Literati Painting

        Maromitsu Tsukamoto

        Associate Professor, University of Tokyo

   Living Traditional Painting:

   Modern Okinawan Painting as a Descendant of Chinese and Ryūkyūan Art

        Eriko Tomizawa-Kay

        Lecturer, University of East Anglia

 

 

Session 2:  Multiple Chinas in Japan: Real or Ideal? Old or New?

 

   Motoyama Hikoichi and Japanese Sinophilic Culture:

   Practices, Publications, and Social Contexts

        Walter Davis

        Associate Professor, University of Alberta

 

   Another Universal Art: 

   Japanese Oil Painters and Literati Painting in the Taisho Era

        Chelsea Foxwell

        Associate Professor, University of Chicago

   Academy-style Bird-and-flower Painting and Nihonga in the Taisho Era     

        Jun Shioya

        Head, Modern/Contemporary Art Section, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural            Properties

   Chinese Art History, "Real" or "Ideal"?       

        Dōshin Satō

        Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts

 

 

Session 3:  Literati Culture in Modern China

   China in the Painting and Calligraphy of the Early Meiji Era        

        Rosina Buckland

        Senior Curator, National Museum of Scotland

 

   Sinitic Poetry, Painting and Calligraphy Gatherings Beyond the Capital:

   Wang Zhiben's Travels in Meiji Japan

        Matthew Fraleigh

        Associate Professor, Brandeis University

   Modern Haiku Calligraphy and the Chinese Stele School: 

   The Case of Kawahigashi Hekigotō

        Aida Yuen Wong

        Professor, Brandeis University

Session 4:  Japan: A Contact Zone between China and Europe

   Body of Morality: Nakamura Fusetsu’s Chinese Subject Painting

        Stephanie Su

        Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder

   Reconsidering the History of Modern Japanese Art as a Contact Zone between     

   Chinese and Euro-American Aesthetics

        Shigemi Inaga

        Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies

   The Colors of China: Japanese Artists in China before 1945

        Julia F. Andrews

        Distinguished University Professor, Ohio State University

Keynote

China and Modern Japanese Culture: Obvious or Counter-intuitive?

Joshua A. Fogel

Canada Research Chair, Professor, York University

My paper addresses the larger theme of mutual Sino-Japanese influence and what that might mean in a pre-Meiji and Meiji context. While we have much work on Chinese influence on Japan in the pre-Meiji period and Japan on China from Meiji forward, we have considerably less work on Japanese influence on pre-Meiji China and China on Meiji and post-Meiji Japan. Our conference theme addresses that last of these specifically in the realm of art history. I try to show that the nation-state markers are a distinctly modern phenomenon and that there were, even through Taishō and early Shōwa, numerous realms of cultural sharing (texts, terminology, and the like). Art history as a field was late to assess the impact of Japan on China, an issue we addressed a decade ago in The Role of Japan in Modern Chinese Art. Looking at the reverse, China's influence of modern Japanese art, the theme of our conference, makes us now well ahead of the curve.

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Session 1:  Forging Connections: Japan, China, and Beyond

Literati Art and Sino-Japanese Exchanges

Kuiyi Shen

Professor, University of California, San Diego

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Modern Japanese Gardens and China

Toshio Watanabe

Professor, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures

Many pre-modern Japanese gardens have their roots in China and some early modern Edo gardens show strong Chinese taste. The period form Meiji to the beginning of Asia Pacific War saw an unprecedented amount of direct contact between the Chinese and Japanese people. In spite of strong Sinophilia among certain intellectuals in Japan during this time, a wholesale import or imitation of Chinese gardens does not seem to have transpired. Existing examples of Japanese gardens from this period, such as Hashimoto Kansetsu’s garden in Kyoto, Okakura-related gardens in Izura, or the strangest example, the Japanese garden at Tully, Ireland, show attempts of transnational fusion of Chinese and Japanese elements. After the war, rather than mixing the two in one garden, Japanese gardens were created in China and Chinese ones in Japan. More recently these two countries are also competing in the international arena through gifts of gardens globally. 

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Metal Stone Studies (Jinshixue) and the Japanese Art World:

The Transcultural Context of Yu Rang by Hirafuku Hyakusui

Tamaki Maeda

Independent Scholar

 

Depicting a famous assassin from China’s distant past, Yu Rang (J: Yo Jō, 1917) by Hirafuku Hyakusui (1877-1933) won first prize at the Bunten, Japan’s most prestigious competitive exhibition of the time. Its subject was taken from Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji, ca. 100 BCE); style inspired by Gu Kaizhi (ca. 344-408); and composition derived from the Wu Liang Shrine (ca. 147-151). Hyakusui’s work, as this paper shows, exemplifies a new trend in Japanese art in tune with jinshixue (literally “metal stone studies”)—an antiquarian pursuit widespread among the learned elite of late Qing and early Republican China. What’s more, Yu Rang provides insights into “East Asian art”—a concept formed by Japanese intellectuals concerned with cultural connections, not only within East Asia, but also throughout Eurasia. Yu Rang, with its allusion to Chinese antiquities, represents a modern mindset exploring transcultural linkage, as opposed to national containment, of Japanese culture. I contend China was integral to such a modernism in Japanese art. 

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Inukai Tsuyoshi and the Okayama Literati Circle:

Entrepreneurship, Politics, and Literati Painting

Maromitsu Tsukamoto

Associate Professor, University of Tokyo

 

Research on Sino-Japanese artistic exchanges in modern times have, thus far, frequently focused on “professional” scholars and artists, like Naitō Konan (1866-1934) and Nagao Uzan (1864-1942). Those engaged in Chinese learning (Kangaku) were, however, not limited to such intellectual elite in metropolises. Fundamental to the Japanese society up until the nineteenth century, Kangaku was widespread among cultural and economic leaders in rural areas. Taking this factor into consideration, my paper points out that it was a Kangaku network that functioned as power base for Inukai Tsuyoshi (1855-1932). Born in Okayama, Inukai had two entrepreneurs from Okayama as his ardent supporters: Yunoki Gyokuson (1865-1943) and Tanabe Hekidō (1864-1931). As literati, they composed Sinitic poems (kanshi), and, as amateur-painters, they condemned the style of Edo-period literati painting and produced works inspired by the Orthodox Four Wangs, whose paintings the Kyoto school strongly advocated. The Kangaku network continued to play an important social role connecting the fields of politics, entrepreneurship, and Kangaku itself, up until the assassination of Inukai in 1932.

(trans. TM)

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Living Traditional Painting:

Modern Okinawan Painting as a Descendant of Chinese and Ryūkyūan Art

Eriko Tomizawa-Kay

Lecturer, University of East Anglia

 

This paper explores ways in which Chinese painting contributed to the development of Okinawan painting after Japan’s annexation of Ryūkyū in 1879 (Ryūkyū was subsequently renamed Okinawa). Scholars generally agree that traditional Ryūkyūan painting was heavily influenced by China, as the Ryūkyū Kingdom dispatched artists to study on the continent. The scholars also agree that, in modern times, Okinawan painting was sucked into the nihonga (literally “Japanese painting”) movement under the art policies of Meiji Japan. There have been almost no studies of the influence of Chinese art on modern Okinawan painting. One of the reasons for this lack was the substantial loss of historical documents and paintings during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Another reason was the uneasy diplomatic relationship between Japan and China after the war. This paper reconsiders Meiji-era Okinawan painting in relation to both Japanese and East Asian art histories. By clarify its artistic connections with China, this paper casts a new view of Okinawa painting as the dénouement of the Ryūkyū-Chinese tradition. 

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Session 2:  Multiple Chinas in Japan: Real or Ideal? Old or New?

Motoyama Hikoichi and Japanese Sinophilic Culture:

Practices, Publications, and Social Contexts

Walter Davis

Associate Professor, University of Alberta

 

This paper examines the Sinophilic cultural activities and social network of Motoyama Hikoichi (1853-1932) to improve our understanding of Japan’s interest in Chinese art and culture in the Taishō and early Shōwa eras. Motoyama was a leader in the Japanese newspaper industry, and he collected Chinese art, wrote Chinese-language calligraphy, celebrated the Chinese-inspired art of nanga painters, and joined in Sinophilic cultural activities organized by such cultural professionals as the Sinologists Nagao Uzan (1864-1942) and Naitō Konan (1866-1934). Motoyama thus exemplifies the elite Japanese businessmen and politicians who helped the Japanese art world promote certain types of Chinese art and literary expression. His efforts mark a new phase in the diffusion of Qing literati culture and values in twentieth-century Japan that occurred across elite social networks. This diffusion was mediated by such traditionalist practices as elegant gatherings and the social writing of Chinese-language calligraphic texts that reproduced premodern Chinese cultural practices and rhetoric. However, it also transformed those practices, presenting them to a broader audience by means of modern publishing and exhibiting. Sinophilic aesthetics and practices thus informed and enriched the modern Japanese art world. 

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Another Universal Art:

Japanese Oil Painters and Literati Painting in the Taishō Era

Chelsea Foxwell

Associate Professor, University of Chicago

 

In the early decades of the twentieth century, many Japanese artists and intellectuals saw oil painting and photography as arts characterized by a certain degree of “universality” (fuhensei). The finely honed verisimilitude and stylistic transparency of these arts seemed to reach beyond cultural particulars and therefore to represent a truly modern and international pictorial language. Yet some artsits and intellctuals felt a sense of loss as they saw East Asian traditions sidelined in favor of a “universal” which actually had its roots in Greco-Roman culture. In this talk, I examine oil painters such as Yorozu Tetsugorō and Kosugi Hōan who decided to embrace Ming- and Qing-style literati painting in the late teens and 1920s as another sort of universal art: one that was rooted in Eastern rather than Western cultural heritage. In the field of art criticism, Taki Seiichi, the scholar and chief editor of the art journal Kokka, played a leading role in what is now known as the “revival of literati painting” (bunjinga no fukkō) in the Taishō and early Shōwa eras. I conclude that this resurgence of literati painting was the result of several converging factors among Taki, Japanese oil painters, and early twentieth-century audiences. 

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Academy-style Bird-and-flower Painting and Nihonga in the Taishō Era

Jun Shioya

Head, Modern/Contemporary Art Section, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

 

Hayami Gyoshū and Kishida Ryūsei, as scholars frequently point out, produced paintings in the late Taishō era that show the influence of Chinese academy-style bird-and-flower paintings. Prior to them, Kyoto artists like Tsuchida Bakusen and Sakakibara Shihō were also drawn to Chinese bird-and-flower paintings. While Gyoshū and Ryūsei sought realism (shajitsusei) in the world of Song and Yuan academy-style paintings, Bakusen and Shihō were drawn to their decorative qualities (sōshokusei). Regardless of such a difference, the works attracted these artists were not Chinese literati paintings that were imported to Japan in their time, but rather the bird-and-flower paintings that were part of the “old migration” (kowatari)—objects that had been brought to the archipelago before the Edo period. It should be mentioned that, during the Taishō era, tea practitioners, like Hara Sankei, favored “celebrated objects” (meibutsu); they cherished, in particular, Song-Yuan paintings (So-Gen ga) that had formerly been in Shogunal families’ or other well-known collections. The Taishō artists’ focus on Chinese bird-and-flower paintings from the old migration anticipated the rise of a calm and graceful style in nihonga (painting in traditional media) in the early Shōwa era.

(trans. TM)

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Chinese Art History, “Real” or “Ideal”?

Dōshin Satō

Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts

 

From the 1910s, Japan witnessed a large importation of Chinese art objects and the subsequent formation of new art collections. Why were they carried out by a network of people in the Kansai region, in particular, those centered at Kyoto Imperial University? As part of a generation born right around the time of the Meiji Restoration (1868), they were keenly aware of their role in setting trends for the new era—the generation that also included leading figures in the new schools of nihonga (painting in traditional media) and oil painting, which took part in Japan’s Westernization. The Faculty of Liberal Arts established in Kyoto Imperial University in 1907, moreover, emphasized research in Buddhism and East Asian culture, taking advantage of its locale. The situation in Tokyo, this paper further discusses, was different: art aficionados competed to own objects sold at auctions of former peerage collections. As an outcome of Sino-Japanese exchanges at this time, “Chinese art history” based on the concepts of “literati painting” and “art” began to take shape. In Japan, newly imported objects were linked to the existing view of Chinese art; they supplemented (or complemented rather than shifted) that view.

(trans. TM)

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Session 3:  Literati Culture in Modern Japan

China in the Painting and Calligraphy of the Early Meiji Era

Rosina Buckland

Senior Curator, National Museum of Scotland

 

The years following the Meiji Restoration of 1868 saw a boom in literati culture in Tokyo, and an examination of the ranking charts for both painters and calligraphers of the day indicates that many were drawing on Sinophilic trends. This popularity was in part encouraged by the direct participation, possible for the first time, of Chinese scholars and artists who travelled to Tokyo. One group of participants was men serving at the Chinese legation, whose literary exchanges and published contributions have been well studied, but who also made appearances at the large, public calligraphy and painting parties (shogakai), as advertised in newspapers of the day. A clear example of personal friendships is provided by the painter Taki Katei, who had two points of intersection with Chinese men during his career, separated by three decades. And lastly, publishers in Japan were relaying the styles of contemporary Chinese painters by issuing reprints or new versions of their painting manuals. These aspects help fill in the picture of the “contact zones” between the Japanese and Chinese that have thus far been little studied. 

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Sinitic Poetry, Painting and Calligraphy Gatherings Beyond the Capital:

Wang Zhiben’s Travels in Meiji Japan

Matthew Fraleigh

Associate Professor, Brandeis University

 

Though standard narratives of Japanese literary history have been somewhat slow to embrace the fact, the nineteenth century was unquestionably the peak of Sinitic expression in Japan in terms of the sheer number of active composers, the volume of their publications, their comprehensive geographic spread, and their unprecedented social and gender diversity. Sinitic poetry (kanshi) had seen remarkable expansion in the late Edo period, and came to enjoy unprecedented popularity and visibility in early Meiji. One important aspect of the early Meiji kanshi scene was the presence of a new international audience, including several Qing literati. By the late 1870s, the names of Qing literati, including the newly arrived Qing legation officials, began to appear with increasing frequency as interlocutors of Japanese Sinitic poets in early Meiji poetry anthologies, literary journals, and newspaper columns. Wang Zhiben (1835–1908) was unusual among these Qing literati for the duration of his time in Japan, the breadth of his travels throughout the Japanese interior, and the extent of his knowledge of Sinitic texts written by Japanese individuals. This paper examines how Wang established his reputation and built a network in Tokyo during his first five years in Japan (1877-1882) that provided the foundation for his multiple extensive tours throughout the country in subsequent decades. It introduces how Wang collaborated with local artists and poets, made masterful use of local newspapers and other periodical media, and also created works that engaged robustly with Japanese history and literature. 

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Modern Haiku Calligraphy and the Chinese Stele School:

The Case of Kawahigashi Hekigotō

Aida Yuen Wong

Professor, Brandeis University

 

Kawahigashi Hekigotō (1873-1937) was a renowned poet and disciple of Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), “the father of modern haiku.” This paper discusses Hekigotō as an eloquent exponent of Shiki’s literary ideals, and an adventurous calligrapher who borrowed from the Chinese Stele School introduced to him by Shiki’s artist friend, Nakamura Fusetsu (1866-1943). Departing from the usual style of haiku calligraphy characterized by soft, flowing running or cursive scripts, Hekigotō adopted inky, heavy brushstrokes in archaic clerical script with the atomization of the words or syllables. Together with his bold promotion of the non-5-7-5 structure, Hekigotō can be described as a full-ranged reformer who challenged conventions in fundamental ways. Referencing his haiku and kanji calligraphy, this paper elucidates his sources and critical collaborations with the multi-talented Fusetsu, who amassed one of the greatest Chinese calligraphy collections in modern Japan. 

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Session 4:  Japan: A Contact Zone between China and Europe

Body of Morality: Nakamura Fusetsu’s Chinese Subject Painting

Stephanie Su

Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder

 

In 1907, Nakamura Fusetsu (1866-1943), who just returned from France, showed his first Chinese subject painting at Japan’s national exhibition Bunten. Titled The Grey-Haired Man, the painting depicted a scene of a young couple encountering an old man in an open field. From this time until 1941, Fusetsu showed twenty works with Chinese subjects at both Bunten and Teiten, another national exhibition in Japan, as well as China’s first national art exhibition in 1929. His works were, in addition, reproduced in Chinese pictorial journals. Fusetsu’s sustained interest in representing Chinese subjects in oil painting throughout his career distinguished himself from his contemporary Japanese artists and offered a unique perspective on the role of China in modern Japan. Scholars usually called Fusetsu’s Chinese subject painting as “history painting,” for all his Chinese subjects came from the pre-Tang dynasty. The term “history painting” has the connotation of nationalism; consequently, past scholarship usually linked its production with the state ideology. However, in Fusetsu’s case, how did his Chinese subject painting fit into the narratives of modern art and nationalism in Japan? By cross-referencing a range of materials from Meiji journal articles and ethic textbooks, to Fusetsu’s personal accounts, and to the art practice of early twentieth-century French Academy, this paper re-examines the notion of “history painting” in cross-cultural context. It argues that Fusetsu’s Chinese subject painting was actually not about representing the History, or recasting the past in a new light, but about expressing didactic messages through Confucianism-inspired stories as a way to promote morality in modern Japan. 

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Reconsidering the History of Modern Japanese Art as a Contact Zone between Chinese and Euro-American Aesthetics

Shigemi Inaga

Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies

 

Modern Japanese art, in particular, pictorial representations, can be considered as a locus of encounters between Chinese and Euro-American aesthetic canons and criteria. This paper aims to give an overview of such encounters between the “East” and “West” from a theoretical viewpoint. Watanabe Kazan, who belonged to an earlier generation exposed to Dutch learning (Rangaku), studied European pictorial techniques. Kazan, at the same time, analyzed the concept of “animation through spiritual consonance” (Ch: qiyun shengdong; J: kiin seidō) in contrast to “painting from life” (Ch: xiesheng; J: shasei) (1839). A half century later, Ernest Fenollosa considered “gradation” (Ch: nongdan; J: nōtan) in ink painting in contrast to chiaroscuro in oil. Arthur W. Dow, in his Composition (1899, 1913), further developed Fenollosa’s view. From the 1910s, some Japanese theoreticians likened “animation through spiritual consonance” to Theodor Lipps’s concept of “empathy” (Einfühlung). In his report on the 1913 Armory Show, Arthur J. Eddy expounded the Japanese term “esoragoto” (fantasy or pipe-dream) in relation to Wassily Kandinsky’s theory of abstraction (1908). A translator of Kandinsky’s theory, Sono Raizō questioned Eddy’s view; Sono, therein, interrogated the relationship between abstraction and “animation through spiritual consonance,” referring to Kazan and also Chinese painter-theorists, like Yun Shouping. Hashimoto Kansetsu proclaimed Yosa Buson’s superiority to Paul Cézanne (1922); and Feng Zikai, in turn, drew on Kansetsu’s view, declaring the superiority of Chinese aesthetics to Western aesthetics (1936). This paper tries to locate lingering effects of these “East-West” theoretical encounters in the controversy between Xu Fuguan and Liu Kuo-sung over modern painting in post-WWII Taiwan.

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The Colors of China: Japanese Artists in China Before 1945

Julia F. Andrews

Distinguished University Professor, Ohio State University

 

By viewing Japanese artists of the pre-1945 period, particularly Umehara Ryūzaburō and Yasui Sōtarō in comparison to French artist Andre Claudot and Chinese artist Liu Haisu, this paper makes an argument for the positive effects of engagement with the unfamiliar, including the exotic, as a nourishment for artists.  In particular, engagement of Japanese oil painters, many of whom had previously studied in France, with the Chinese landscape is discussed as a stimulus to formal developments in Japanese art of mid-century.  Yasui’s woman in Chinese dress is also reconsidered in the context of growing contact of educated Japanese with China in the period.

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Abstracts