Japan art and Sakai Oho (1808-1841): The rhythm of art and Buddhism

Japan art and Sakai Oho (1808-1841): The rhythm of art and Buddhism

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Sakai Oho (1808-1841) belongs to the world of Japanese rinpa (rimpa) art. Despite living a life based on art, high culture, and the rhythm of Buddhism, it ended too soon.

His father was a holy Buddhist priest at the Joei-ji Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Hence, the world of art, Buddhism, and culture had a natural rhythm for Oho. This applies to his entire life.

Amazingly, Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1829), a notable artist of high esteem, became a Buddhist priest at the Tsukiji Hongan-ji temple. This holy place and the Joei-ji Buddhist temple in Ichigaya were interlinked. Therefore, Oho had the honor to learn aspects of life and culture under the father figure of Hōitsu.

Oho attracted powerful patrons based on the circle he belonged to. His world was protected and shaped by art, Buddhism, and high culture throughout his life. Hence, the growing development of Tokyo, the struggle to survive, and new cultural concepts never impacted on Oho to any degree.

Oho could never fulfill his true potential because he died relatively young. However, his deeper ink tones can be felt based on his passion. Therefore, while his art isn’t abundant because of the shortness of time, he still left behind some stunning art.

Overall, the Buddhist world he knew was intertwined with art and culture. Hence, the clock of life ticked slowly for Oho.


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