Japan Art and Kawano Kaoru: Spirituality and Ghosts of the Past

Japan Art and Kawano Kaoru: Spirituality and Ghosts of the Past

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The vast open spaces of northern Japan impacted the art of Kawano Kaoru (1916-1965). He was born in Hokkaido. Also, irrespective of whether intended or unintended – his art provides the feeling of spirituality and freedom.

In the Hokkaido region, the ghosts of the past concerning the Ainu remain after the Japanese expanded northwards. Similar to modern angles of Native Americans, the Aborigines, and other indigenous groups who continue to struggle today (Papuans in West Papua face endless Javanization) – marginalization and seeking to preserve their respective identities is a constant struggle.

The art of Kawano Kaoru is very distinctive. Sadly, during World War Two (Pacific War), he was imprisoned. One can only imagine how this impacted his art.

The innocence of girls in his art – fused with the freedom of birds – appears to point to aspects of his life. After all, the vastness of Hokkaido to developments during the war shaped part of his inner self. Therefore, you feel the ghosts of the past when viewing his stunning art.

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