Where the bodies are buried: Kofun burial mounds along the Tama River

Japan's "Kofun Period", from the 2nd century to the 7th century, is named for the tumulus burial mounds that characterize it.  Of the 30,000 tumuli extant in Japan, some 750 are believed to contain the remains of emperors or members of the imperial family.  Most of the others were used for local chieftains or other … Continue reading Where the bodies are buried: Kofun burial mounds along the Tama River

A traditional river crossing…and meandering old neighborhoods

In the opening scene of the 1968 movie, "Admiral Yamamoto", starring the great Mifune Toshiro, Yamamoto is being ferried across a river in his hometown and is challenged by the boatman to make the crossing standing on his head, thereby demonstrating his superior balance and seamanship. Perhaps because I know there was a time in … Continue reading A traditional river crossing…and meandering old neighborhoods

Nihonga: Distinctly Japanese Modern Art

"Modern" Japan dates from the Meiji Restoration of 1868.  During the reign of the Emperor Meiji (1868-1912), Japan modernized and Westernized.  This transformation included not only Japan's political, economic, and education systems, but also various aspects of fine arts.  With respect to the latter, many feared that Japan's cultural identity might be lost in the … Continue reading Nihonga: Distinctly Japanese Modern Art

The colors of Ko-Imari: it’s all about the glaze

Stepping into the latest exhibition at Shibuya's Toguri Museum of Art, I felt as if I was in heaven. The exhibition, entitled "Beautiful Glazes in Ko-Imari Ware", features the glazes used on Ko-Imari ware, some of Japan's earliest refined porcelains, dating back to the 17th century. The pieces on display are exquisite. It was refugee … Continue reading The colors of Ko-Imari: it’s all about the glaze