Isolated Japanese Buddhist Monk in Art and Shinto Shrine by Sawako Utsumi

Isolated Japanese Buddhist Monk in Art and Shinto Shrine by Sawako Utsumi

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942) utilized part of his art by focusing on simplicity but within the realm of sophistication based on hidden meanings. Of course, individuals can create or equally shatter the myths of hidden meanings. In this sense, only Sekka will know the answer. However, the beauty of art is that people can provide their own meanings. Therefore, Sawako Utsumi focuses on this but creates a new angle by adding a distant Shinto shrine based on her own religious upbringing.


Sawako says, In my art piece the individual could be searching on a religious quest, equally he could be lost and tired – or merely the individual could be going home in order to rest from the harsh weather conditions. Other factors can equally be imagined because this is the beauty of Sekka, therefore, the real meaning is often left to the individual. Indeed, maybe no meaning exists because in time all moments are lost based on the reality of death. I also created the Shinto context in order to further my own individual intrigue.”


In this adorable art piece by Sawako, she focuses on the fusions of the original image by Sekka. However, Sawako adds her own dimensions based on the mountain backdrop and the Shinto shrine. Yet, is the Buddhist monk yearning for the shrine – or is it solely based on paying respect?

Given the weather conditions, highlighted by the monk, then what do you think?


Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters – Please click on to order the book.


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