Japan art and Ishizaki Koyo: Beauty of birds, freedom, and space

Japan art and Ishizaki Kōyō: Beauty of birds, freedom, and space

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ishizaki Kōyō (1884-1947) was born in Tokyama, Japan. From a very young age, he studied art under Yamamoto Koichi. Hence, despite the momentous artistic changes of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Kōyō firstly developed his artistic skills in the style of traditionalists throughout the Edo Period.

This alludes to the world of rinpa (rimpa) art. Thus gracefulness and rich cultural traits were firm benchmarks for Kōyō to enhance his artistic skills during his informative years.

His artistic mentors – Koichi and Takeuchi Seiho – enhanced a strong sense of identity in Kōyō. Hence, while some Japanese artists experimented greatly in this period of history, a sense of tradition and continuity is felt in his art.

Birds by Kōyō are illuminated in his art because a sense of serenity and freedom persists outside the subject matter. Birds are free from the political and social convulsions that are impacting Japan. Therefore, viewing Kōyō’s art concerning birds is a way of bypassing the communist, nationalist, and modernization processes that engulfed Northeast Asia.

Kōyō traveled to parts of Europe, India, and internally in Japan. Yet, once more, just like the artistic convulsions whereby Western art enticed countless Japanese artists – in the art pieces in this article, it appears that different cultures to the dynamics impacting the world were a million miles away from his artistic mindset.

The world of Koyasan, Kyoto, Nara, and high culture all impacted Kōyō to a high degree. Thus the pervasive serenity of his art sums up the world he knew where he could keep the negative forces of politics at bay.


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