Tokyo’s Art Scene
The continual changes in a historic city.
My time in Japan consisted of a great many adventures but two provinces of Toyko took hold of me: Kamakura and Ueno. Ueno is where the great art of Japan is housed, where thousand-year-old graves rest peacefully, protected and respected, and where some of the most beautiful landscapes, both culturally and naturally, exist. With parks throughout, Ueno is a place of creativity and art and, recently, there was a renovation of The Nitten: one of Japan’s greatest art organizations. The new design boasts modernism with the cultural signifier of refinement true to the history of the country. Housing some of the more prolific pieces of art, now travelers can enjoy even more.
The Nitten is the most popular of all the great art organizations in Japan. The Nitten has a long and industrious history, which began in 1907 as a result of the First Ministry of Education Art Exhibition. In the beginning, the exhibition was referred to as the Bunten. In 1919, the Imperial Art Academy was established, and following this, it was renamed the Imperial Art Exhibition or the Teiten. In the years 1935, 1937, the Imperial Art Academy was reorganized, and once again it was referred to as the Bunten. In 1946, after World War II, the management of the Imperial Art Academy was taken over by the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition and the Nitten was formed. In 1958, the non-profit corporation Nitten was established, and the exhibition became to be privately-managed one. And now in 2012, the Nitten has changed its legal status to a Public Interest Incorporated Association, pursuant to the reform of Public Interest Corporation System.
Throughout Nitten’s long and developing history, its contribution to the Modern Japanese Art World has been great. Today, the Nitten claims to be the largest combined art exhibition of its kind in the world, attracting a great number of fans and critics. The current management of Nitten is administered by Sayume Okuda, the chief director. The Nitten comprises five art faculties; namely Japanese Style and Western Style Painting, Sculpture, Craft as Art and Calligraphy. Each of the departments features works of the great masters of the Modern Japanese Art World with works of the new but talented artists featured alongside.
Japanese Style Painting; features such names as Chikuhaku Suzuki, Yujin Nakaji, Hisashi Iwakura, Haruhiko Kawasaki, Reiichi Tsuchiya, Senkei Fukuda and Takao Yamazaki, all of whom value the tradition of this style of art, and display their works with strong individuality, befitting this modern art.
Western Style Painting; is featured by Tadahiko Nakayama, Shoichiro Nushi, Tadao Terasaka, Shozo Murata, Kaneaki Fujimori, Tadashi Misawa, Tetsu Sato and Hiroshi Higuchi who collectively have aimed at producing a modern interpretation, representative of the natural features of Japan.
Leading artists engaged in Sculpture, include such names as, Shin-ya Nakamura, Keiko Amenomiya, Kentaro Hashimoto, Hiroteru Kawasaki, Jiro Hiruta, Seiji Nojima, Shinsuke Yamamoto, Mineo Kanbe, Go Seto and all their works display character and expression in firm reality.
Craft as Art; has been unfolded to present magnificent, innovative and intriguing qualities of the modern craft artists such as Sayume Okuda, Toshiro Ohi, Goichi Mitani, Masayuki Imai, Teiji Nakai, Toshiaki Takegoshi, Taimei Morino, Hiroshi Ito, Fuminori Haruyama and Ryohei Miyata.
Calligraphy; traditionally profound, has been presented by Koho Hibino, Keido Ishige, Kofu Arai, Ken-ichi Kuroda and Kodo Hoshi to reveal to this modern world, new works in Kanji, Kana, Chowatai (Kanji and Kana) and Seal Engraving.
Every autumn, the Nitten is opened for public viewing at The National Art Center, Tokyo. It is expected about 200,000 spectators will enjoy the exhibition, prior to its tour of the principle cities of Japan: after which, an estimated 500,000 people will have had the opportunity to have been part of the growing development of the Nitten. So we, Nitten artists, are to be more responsible and self-confident in the future.