Japanese Art, Eisen and the Mirage of Life: View of Shogetsu Pond to Subculture

Japanese Art, Eisen and the Mirage of Life: View of Shogetsu Pond to Subculture

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


If one views the stunning image of the View of Shogetsu Pond by Keisai Eisen, then only images of tranquility, order, and a nation at peace comes to mind. This reality means that one can easily depict an image of idealism where nature and humanity blend together.

Likewise, if we take this image by itself and try to analyze the artist from such a scenic piece of art, then it would appear that the artist was at peace with himself. After all, buildings are in the background and the natural towering strength of the mountains in the distance seems to imply order and control. Also, the individuals in this piece of art seem in a natural order and the same applies to the pond, trees and every single aspect of the View of Shogetsu Pond.


However, looks can easily deceive because the artist Eisen faced many demons related to alcohol and owning a brothel. In other words, reality seems a million miles away from the delightful scenery of the View of Shogetsu Pond.


Indeed, Eisen was a complex individual who manipulated wit openly. Therefore,  one never really knows how deep his drinking happened to be. Likewise, was the brothel the “real deal” or something that the artist played up in order to generate rumors and whispers? In this sense, just like the image of the View of Shogetsu Pond, it is clear that many things are a mirage in this life even when individuals believe sincerely that certain concepts and beliefs are true.


Or, it could just be that Eisen was disillusioned with the trappings of life. If so, then this famous art piece represents a distant desire within his soul. Yet, of course, this is nothing more than pure speculation.

Eisen once stated that he was “…a hard-drinking, and rather dissolute artist” This statement is clearly a mirage to reality. After all, Eisen was blessed with so many skills in the field of art and writing. Equally, he clearly knew that many individuals thought highly about his skills, therefore, this statement suits the wit of this amazing artist.


Turning back to the brothel comment then it is factual that this type of business did exist in Nezu, Tokyo. Despite this, the reasons related to the usage and the role of Eisen remains debatable. Many individuals have stated various statements about the reality of this brothel. However, these comments are often conflicting. Therefore, speculation remains the order of the day with regards to the true nature of his role in this brothel.


It also could be that the View of Shogetsu Pond by Eisen lacked any real meaning to the artist. Yet, if you view this one majestic piece of art by itself, then it is nice to dream and think deeply. In this sense, the image and nature of Eisen represent the mirage of life where individuals try to understand the bigger picture. However, in the distance of time, then does the bigger picture really mean anything?




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