Japan Art and Heavy Rain

Japan Art and Heavy Rain

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Goyō Hashiguchi (1880-1921) was born during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). He sadly died relatively young from meningitis. Therefore, the art piece above – depicting the natural landscape and heavy rain – imbues the artistic skills of this fascinating artist who passed away during the Taisho Period (1912-1926).

Goyō designed many books and utilized quality illustrations in his mid-twenties. He did book covers for Kyoka Izumi, Nagai Kafu, Uchida Roan, Futabatei Shimei, Morita Sohei, Natsume Soseki, and Jun’ichiro Tanizaki.

Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915) is famous for utilizing scenes connected to dawn, dusk, and nightfall. Hence, many atmospheric art pieces are entailed by Kiyochika. Therefore, the art above highlights his play on light amid the heavy rain.

The Smithsonian says: “Avoiding the colorful and celebratory cityscapes of traditional woodblock prints, Kiyochika focused on light and its effects. Dawn, dusk, and night were his primary moments of observation, and his subjects—both old and new—are veiled in sharply angled light, shadows, and darkness. To accommodate this new way of seeing, Kiyochika effectively invented a visual vocabulary that incorporated elements of oil painting, copperplate printing, and photography. Interest in Kiyochika’s prints revived in the 1910s, when Tokyo intellectuals began to interpret the series as a critique of modernity.”

The final print is by the highly acclaimed Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858). Accordingly, he captures people struggling in the heavy rain via the contours of color and imagination.

Throughout his life, he depicted a world that highlighted the natural beauty of the countryside – along with focusing on ordinary people who were traveling, on a religious pilgrimage, working, the urban landscape, and so on.

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