Japan Art and Inoue Yasuji: Buddhism and Shintoism
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Inoue Yasuji (1864-1889) died in his mid-twenties. Despite this, he still produced stunning prints that appeal today – just like they did in the Meiji Period.
The British Museum says Yasuji “Received the art name Tankei from publisher Matsuki in 1884. Mentored by Kobayashi Kiyochika.”
In the five adorable prints in this article, Yasuji provides a glimpse into the importance of Buddhism and Shintoism that shaped Japan.
The temples and shrines of many of his prints provide solace even if they evade the anti-Buddhism legacy of the early Meiji Period.
The Ota Memorial Museum of Art says, “Ukiyo-e artists such as Inoue Yasuji (1864-89) and Ogura Ryūson (date of birth and death unknown) followed after Kiyochika. Although the popularity of ray painting lasted only five years, it developed new possibilities for woodblock prints, and it should be regarded as the forerunner of the genre of “shin-hanga” (new prints) in the Taisho and Showa eras that have been the focus of much attention in recent years…”
One can imagine the crestfallen Kiyochika (1847-1915) – who taught Yasuji many intricacies of printmaking connected to dawn, dusk, and nightfall – on hearing of his death at such a young age.
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