Modern Japanese Painting


Among my peers, art is often overlooked and is seldomly
appreciated. Perhaps, with the subsequent information your interest will
grow as mine did. During the end of the nineteenth century, also during
the time of modern development in painting techniques, Japan entered the
international world. Their culture made slight changes due to opposing
virtues and renovating ideals pertaining to painting. Europe possessed
many of the modernistic, innovative principles and inspired the Japanese
tremendously. With the overwhelming influence of the European painting
techniques, the Japanese style remained almost unaltered, yet accompanied
with modernized standards. 
 The European style migrated to Japan and imposed on the
traditional and ancient methods. As a result, the patrons of the ancient
style denied the effectual, European ways of artistic expression. Thus,
the Japanese culture divided into two worlds: Traditional and Modern
 The European form was not completely contradictory to the
Japanese. However, the color hues, organization of motifs, and personal
expression used showed great contrast. These elements were absent in
Japanese paintings. The Japanese were considered archaic and anile
according to the Europeans (Baker 199). Their artistic expression and
reasons for the subject matter usage were constantly changing and
refitting the most recent alterations in society (Gregg 757). They strive
to find new ways of "representing the intrinsic beauty of nature as a
higher synthesis of modern realism and characterism" (Microsoft). 
Symbolism and realism, "classical restraint and romantic passion" were
elements attempting to apply itself to the primitive style and were used
to reveal significant affinities (Microsoft). 
 Japanese painting, concerning artistic expression, was the
preferred art form and was used to deal with mental tensions and inner
thoughts. They were taught the "various rules of objective realism such
as linear and aerial perspective, and shading" ("Japan" 959). Their
themes encompassed life, mother nature (like the Europeans, but passé),
movement and character. The inevitable outcome was displayed by the
traditional Japanese by objecting and attempting to overcome the conflict
between the dual civilizations ("Japan" 958). 
 The concurrent practices took place in a time of complex life
situations, and agonies became too acute to be dealt with a traditional
art form (Baker 201). In fact, the Western style actually allowed the
Japanese to escape the restricted attributes such painting with definition
and without perspective or visible space. It gave them more opportunities
to show elaborate, uncapped emotion without the risk of condemnation by
ancestral painters (Baker 193). In other words, the new method was their
scapegoat or moat away from the mainland, as if it was an excuse to
experiment with untrained, inexperienced and undesired means. Even today,
Japanese-style painters take advantage of this recent development. It
influences erecting, young artists and significantly increases their
efforts to find "adequate visual forms for expressing their complicated
inward life" ("Japan" 958). Many researchers believe and are convinced
that Japan needs to study Westernism [painting] to survive in the painting
world (Gregg 751). The division of the two co-existing cultures have "made
substantial contributions to modern concepts of Japanese painting" (Baker
200). On the other hand, despite the clash, traditional ways have endured
and abide by the same code used centuries ago.

Works Cited
Baker, Joan-Stanley. Japanese Art. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1984.

Gregg, N. Taylor. "Hagi: Where Japan^Òs Revolution Began." National Geographic
6 June. 1984: 751-

"Japan." Encyclopedia Brittanica. 1967 ed.

Microsoft Encarta 96 Encyclopedia. Computer software. 1996. CD-ROM.


I: Thesis
 A: European influence
 B: Traditional Japanese Painting
 C: Conflict and Collaboration
II: European Style
 A: Style
 B: Expression
 C: Immigration of Culture
III: Traditional Style
 A: Style
 B: Expression
 C: Acceptance of Foreign Ways
IV: Conflict and Collaboration
 A: Styles Conflicting
 B: Changed Expression
 C: The Arts Today
V: Conclusion
 A: Restating of Thesis
 B: Closing Points


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