Japan Art and Eiichi Kotozuka: Buddhism and Shinto

Japan Art and Eiichi Kotozuka: Buddhism and Shinto

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Eiichi Kotozuka was born during the late Meiji Period (1868-1912) in Osaka in 1906. He is noted for his sōsaku hanga (creative prints) prints – which often highlight the cultural dimensions of Japan. 

Kotozuka appreciated the rich cultural and religious traditions of Kyoto, Koyasan, Nara, Nikko, and other notable religious and cultural areas that bless Japan. Accordingly, this article focuses on Japan’s Buddhist, Shinto, and architectural traits.

The first print is the Kasuga (Kasugataisha) Shinto Shrine in Nara.

The Kasugataisha website says, “Ancient myths tell us that about 1300 years ago when the national capital was built in Nara, Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto came all the way from Kashima Shrine (Ibaraki Prefecture) to Mt. Mikasa, which is considered a holy mountain, to dwell on its summit “Ukigumo-no-mine” for the prosperity of the nation and happiness of the people. Later on, when Tempyo Culture flourished, the political leader Fujiwara-no-Nagate built magnificent buildings on the present site of the shrine as ordained by Empress Shotoku. On November 9, 768, he enshrined several gods here, namely Futsunushi-no-mikoto from Katori Shrine (Chiba Prefecture), and Amenokoyane-no-mikoto and Himegami from Hiraoka Shrine (Osaka Prefecture). This is how Kasuga Taisha began.”

The second print focuses on the richness of Buddhism in Nikko. Hence, the spring setting and the cycle of life fuse with the permanence of this Buddhist temple.

The revered Buddhist Monk Nichiren (1222-1282) said, “Could there ever be a more wonderful story than your own?” 


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