The Japanese Sense of Beauty

The Japanese Sense of Beauty

Takashina Shūji
Translated by Matt Treyvaud

Published by JPIC | Hardcover | ISBN 978-4-86658-020-3 | 256 pages | 210mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2018


高階 秀爾 著
筑摩書房 刊



About the Book

What makes Japanese art unique? In The Japanese Sense of Beauty, art critic and historian Takashina Shūji reflects on the aesthetic and philosophical sensibilities underly­ing Japanese art throughout its history, from the earliest calligraphy and painted screens to modern masters like Hishida Shunso and Yokoyama Taikan.

Along the way, Takashina explores themes such as the relationship between subjective perspective and “flat” composition and the playful intermingling of word and image throughout the plastic arts of Japan. He also offers fresh critical perspectives on many individual artists, in­cluding Takeuchi Seihō, one of the first to fuse traditional techniques with Western realism, and Takahashi Yuichi, who combined a vivid mastery of texture with deceptively traditionalist compositions. Other essays in this wide-rang­ing collection touch on everything from the symbolism of Mount Fuji to the ancient music known as gagaku, show­ing how even the most disparate topics can shed new light on what is essential to Japanese culture.

The Japanese Sense of Beauty is an important contri­bution to the study of aesthetics and cultural history, of­fering insights that will change the way you think about Japanese art.

About the Author

Takashina Shūji was born in 1932 in Tokyo. After graduating from the University of Tokyo’s College of Arts and Sciences, he studied in France from 1954–1959 on the invitation of the French government. Since his return to Japan, he has held positions including University of Tokyo professor, director general of the National Museum of Western Art, and his current role as director of the Ōhara Museum of Art. A specialist in Western art from the Renaissance onwards, he is also deeply versed in the art of Japan. His many publications include Light and Dark in the Renaissance (Runessansu no hikari to yami, recipient of the Minister of Education’s Art Encouragement Prize), A History of Modern Art in Japan (Nihon kindai bijutsushi-ron), Van Gogh’s Eye (Gohho no me), A History of French Painting (Furansu kaigashi), Picasso: The Logic of Plagiarism (Pikaso: Hyōsetsu no ronri), Twentieth-Century Art (Nijusseiki bijutsu), A History of Modern Painting (Kindai kaigashi, in two volumes), and The Patrons of Art (Geijutsu no patorontachi). His other contributions to the art world include translations of works by Edgar Wind and Kenneth Clark.