Japan Art and Tanuki (Raccoon Dog)

Japan Art and Tanuki (Raccoon Dog)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

All three art pieces focus on the tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog). Interestingly, in Japanese folklore, the tanuki is portrayed to be mischievous, a shapeshifter, a master of disguise to trick people – and deemed to be jolly.

The first art piece (seen in full – fourth art piece) is by Miki Suizan (1887-1957). He is more known for focusing on Kyoto concerning his woodblock prints.

The second art piece is by Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870-1949). Similar to the first art piece by Miki Suizan, Tsuchiya Kōitsu created this art piece during the early Showa Period.

The Koller Collection of Asian Art says, “Kōitsu Tsuchiya 土屋光逸 (1870–1949) was a master landscape print designer part of the New Prints Movement (shin-hanga) in early 20th c. Japan. His prints, known for their intriguing color schemes and theatrical use of light, are referred to as light ray pictures (kosen-ga).”

The above art piece is by Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891). He belongs to the Edo and Meiji periods of Japanese history.

The British Museum says, “Lacquer artist, painter and print artist. Best known as a lacquer craftsman, trained from the age of eleven with Koma Kansai II (1766-1835); also successful painter in the Shijo style, which he studied under Suzuki Nanrei (q.v.) from the age of sixteen.”

Overall, all three art pieces provide different angles to the tanuki. In Hokkaido, the tanuki is a distinctive subspecies of the mainland species.

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