top of page

This is entertaining,”This is Kyosai”!

The exhibition “This is Kyosai!” is now being held in The Bunkamura Museum of Art in Shibuya. I said “What on earth is this!?”.

Kawanabe Kyosai(1831~1889) A genius painter who lived from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period.This exhibition shows an overview of the diverse range of Kyōsai's works in the Israel Goldman Collection, which is known as being one of the world's largest Kyōsai collections.

As I entered there, I heard people giggling and smiling in the exhibition hall.

It can’t be helped.From the beginning, we could see the funny world of animals,such as frogs, cats, elephants and Kappa(imaginary animal), which are doing acrobatics or doing something like human beings.Other than that, there are various types of paintings.The bold ones are painted by Japanese liquid ink, without a doubt on Kakejiku(Japanese paper’s hanging scroll) .He utilized the composition of the vertically long Kakejiku, by hanging it to make the most of the size as a canvas.The ones are fine and delicate and some of them appear like a comic! The variety of techniques are filled with surprises.

They enable us to get a glimpse of his wit and I couldn’t stop smiling.

He painted many animals.A full-face of a crow and plump back of them look somewhat cute.The personification of mole and mouse, and a realistic butterfly above on a sleeping chubby cat, etc…While my friend and I were exchanging our opinions, we were pointing things out one by one and grinning.We were really attracted to the unique worldview completely.

His artworks remind me of many Japanese creators who have unique view points or even Tim Burton. Might everybody be influenced by Kyosai??Bringing to mind that thought, his works are strangely wonderful, interesting and cool !!

The series of paintings of the God“Shoki”who is traditionally regarded as a vanquisher of demons. The Shoki is wiping the floor with the demons, and the expressions of demons are full of sadness…They are beyond description! I also was interested in the paintings of a ghost to compare his struggling on a draft and a perfect completion drawing. You can see his overwhelming creativity,

which was called”Gaki (art demon)” .

He originally used his name of a Kanji with”狂 meaning crazy” for “Kyo”, and he changed the Kanji to “暁 meaning dawn”.Even though he kept his mad talent hidden, it overflowed, I think.

There is a ”Shunga(erotic prints)” corner, which has a notification for children,but it’s interesting! and an another funny work” fart battle” ,which all have his sense of humor and are full of laughter.Furthermore, his sacred works like

“Daruma(Bodhidharma)” or “Kannon(Bodhisattva)”… There are a lot of works,I never tire of looking at.

I recognized he really loved to draw from his diary with illustrations that he drew every single day.

The super original always is cutting-edge and sensational even when hundreds of years have past.

You should experience Kyosai’s timeless power,which will move your heart.

The museum offers multilingual tablets for guidance, which correspond to English,French,Chinese and Korean.These are available for free(limited supply).You are able to see the Japanese genius until April 16th.


Recent Posts
bottom of page