• Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616)– became shogun in 1603,
started the Tokugawa Period in Japan
• Edo – also known by this name, referring to the capital, which
is present-day Tokyo
• His castle was destroyed in 1657, which was 192 feet tall and
covered about 73.25 hectares (grounds)
• Entourage: 50,000 samurai and their staff
• Mansions of around 260 daimyo
Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616)
In office, 1603-1605 but remained in
power until his death in 1616
The Tokugawa clan crest
• This set up helped centralize
and stabilize the shogunate,
which followed a neo-
Confucian philosophy that
required unquestioned loyalty
of all to the shogun and state.
• Forbade travel outside the
• Though restrictive, the Edo
period was marked by general
peace and prosperity.
Japanese feudal class system
• Growth of large cities
• A money economy
• Rise of literacy
• New middle class that
Included many merchants
By 18th century, Edo may have been
the largest city in the world with a
population of about 1 million.
Illustration of bustling Edo, Japan
The arts reflected this new
• Pictorial arts – illustrated life in
the local entertainment or
pleasure district with its
kabuki theaters, dining
• These districts were
frequented by many wealthy
Edo businessmen and shogun’s
The two Kabuki actors Bando Zenji
and Sawamura Yodogoro; 1794, fifth
month by Sharaku, ukiyo-e artist
• Appealed to the tastes of
the merchants and samurais
• Noh drama
• Refined aesthetics
• Literature- light reading
• Romances, tales of the supernatural,
• Kyôka (crazy verse) – written by leading
poets which parodied the traditional
forms of Japanese poetry still venerated
in tradition-bound cities of Kyoto and
Osaka, Buddhist monasteries and
• Woodblock printing –a magnificent
tradition developed by the Japanese
using inexpensive and colorful images;
reflecting the realities of the new world
Hokusai komachi poem
• Katsura Detached Palace (Kyoto)
• Elegant retreat house built for a prince.
• A fine example of architectural refinement wherein the
elements are reduced to essential forms
• Quintessence of Japanese taste (essential embodiment)
• Still used by the imperial family today.
• Asymmetrical in plan (in contrast to the usual symmetrical
country homes, temples and religious complexes)
• Every detail is finished like a fine piece of furniture
• Overall feeling – reflects the values of the tea ceremony, of
simplicity, reticence and natural harmony.
The Façade of the Katsura Pavilion
Consists of 3 sections or shoins joined at the
• Consists of 3 sections or shoins joined at the center
• Gives it an irregular, staggered or stepped outline
• Based on the tatami module of 3 x 6 ft
• Offers a wide variety of space
• No grand palatial façade, nor grand hallway
• Succession of continuous spaces that flow from one space to
• Fusuma (sliding panels) - is moved to open or close spaces
• Occupant can reconfigure the shoin to meet his needs
Succession of continuous spaces that flow
from one space to another
Interior showing Fusuma or sliding panels
that can be moved to open or close spaces.
• Inside, the visitor experiences a shifting perspective.
• With its many verandas, the outside is connected with the
• The veranda offers the imperial family a varied view of nature
• Reflects the beauty of haiku (poems) which extols the
elegance of nature.
• Ukiyo-e / Ukiyo-ye : pictures of the floating or passing world
• Buddhist term: describes the transient or ephemeral quality
of earthly existence.
• Genre of woodblock prints and paintings that flourished in
Japan from the 17th through 19th centuries
• Also, images of the modern or fashionable world
• A product of the rising literacy in Edo and elsewhere
• Started by the growing middle class of Kyoto (who were
excluded from elitist arts)
• Inspired by the tradition of illustrating city life in China such as
in Hangzhou, Suzhou, Canton and Shanghai
• Illustrated scenes from daily life
particularly the pleasure quarters
of cities (baths, brothels, kabuki
• Images of the tastes, desires and
pressures of the growing middle
• Examples are colorful prints of
attractive young women and
famous men actors from kabuki
• These were priced affordably at
that time (cost about as much as
a worker’s meal)
• At present these prints are highly
valued and eagerly collected.
Portrait of actors
Hand-coloured print, Kiyonobu, 1714
• Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)
• Had access to the intellectual
elite of the day
• Worked with his publisher
• Used bold lines and monumental
• Famous work: Woman Holding a
• Katsushika Hokusai (1760-
• The first major ukiyo-e artist to
focus on the landscape and less
on the figure
• Cultivated meishoe, images of
famous places with poetic
• Famous work: The Great Wave
Utamaro, Woman Holding a
Utamaro, Two Beauties with a
Katsushika Hokusai, Great Wave off Kanagawa, 1829-32, colour woodcut
• Meiji Restoration (1868) – refers
to the return of imperial rule in
• Meiji –enlightened government
• Brought on by the arrival of the
Americans in Japan with the goal
of establishing trade relations
• Arrival of Commodore Perry
on July 8, 1853 at Uraga Harbor
• Naval squadron of 4 ships and
560 men to establish trade
relations with Japan
Matthew C. Perry, c. 1856-58,
in a photograph by Matthew
• Highlighted the superiority of
the Western technology
• Inspired the Japanese to
modernize their country to
avoid being colonized (as with
the rest of Asia) and to
become an independent world
• National charter oath (1868):
“Knowledge shall be sought
throughout the world so as to
strengthen the foundation of
The Meiji Restoration modernized Japan's
economy and military and allowed it to
become a dominant power in Asia.
The picture is a wood cut representation of
the changes the Meiji Restoration created.
• Between 1862-1910, Japan participated in 36 international
exhibitions to acquire and update their information on
Western art and industry.
• They sought to combine “Japanese ethics with Western
science”; to blend its past with modern ideas.
• Westerners arrived in Japan to work and teach while Japanese
studied in the West.
• The challenge was how to preserve their traditional art and
how to incorporate new ideas without compromising their
• What resulted was an exchange that was both influential to
both cultures (America, Europe in relation to Japan).
• Continued to interest artists
of the Meiji Restoration.
• Yokohama –a harbor and
trading center, attracted
• These artists made images
of the topography of the
harbor and the steam ships
docking at its harbor.
Hasimoto Sadahide, Foreigners in
Yokohama: Igirusin (English) and Nankinjun
(Chinese), 1860s, color print from wood
blocks, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
• Sphere of influence expanded
from Yokohama to Tokyo and
other metropolitan centers.
• Printmakers incorporated
photography and Western
• Japanese started studying and
creating oil painting as they
studied in Europe and locally with
• Some local artists incorporated
the Western tradition but
remained loyal to Japanese
Shigeru Aoki (1882-1911) was a Japanese
painter, noted for his work in combining
Japanese legends and religious subjects with
the yōga (Western style) art movement in late
19th- and early 20th-century Japanese painting
• Paradise Under the Sea (1907)
• One of the masterpieces of the Meiji
Restoration which is a combination of
scientific knowledge, ideas of Impressionism
and the narratives of the Pre-Raphaelites.
• Japanese legend: Prince Fire-fade visited the
Palace of the God of the Sea and fell in love
with his daughter
• The composition and the theme (mythology)
reflect Shigeru’s interest in the English
painters known as the Pre-Raphaelites.
• Technique is more of French Impressionist
using light feathery brushstrokes.
• He studied the effect of light under water by
diving in the Bay of Nagasaki (with diving suit
and helmet) and made sketches of it.
• The brushworks captured the fleeting and
diffused light in the women’s wet dresses
and the shadowy skin of the prince.
Aoki Shigeru, Paradise Under the Sea, 1907
oil on canvas, Ishibasi Museum of Art
• The ancient and native aesthetics of Shinto remain part of
Japanese art and architecture today.
• This religion and aesthetics emphasize purity, harmony with
nature, a respect for natural materials, simplicity, rusticity,
obedience and the value of traditions.
• The Buddhist arts of China and Korea from the 6th century
onwards underwent many changes and adaptations in Japan.
• Its aesthetic is felt in the various art forms in Japan: paintings
have many open, empty spaces; Shinto shrines are built like
ancient granaries; Japanese poems are very terse; elite
dramas are highly restrained and formal; and tea ceremonies
have long periods of silence for contemplation.
• This simplicity and minimalism underscore an art that is
complex. It requires that the viewer take an active part in
their appreciation and experience.
• In effect, the slowing of action and even inaction becomes an
integral activity in the experience.
• Japanese art has survived many foreign influences (Korea,
• After she reopened to the West (1850s), Japanese art entered
an ongoing dialogue with the art and culture of the West.
• Today, the traditional forms of art co-exist harmoniously with
the avant garde, which inspired and influenced the
international art world.
O’Riley, Michael Kampen, Art Beyond
the West, second edition, 2006,