Japanese Arts - Page 4

Posted 4-10-2011 at Edutopia's "Projects-Based Learning" Teachers Group

Dear Colleagues,

Since our national Commercial Media "News" thrives on the "Crisis of the Week"...

we have already forgotten about the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Radioactivity Catastrophe,

and we have moved on to and past the War in Libya, and on to and past the U.S. Government's Political and Economic 'Crisis'...

So for those of you who wish to continue the study of the Cultural History of Japan (and/or provide this resource to your students

for PBL activities)

here is a wonderful link from the Brooklyn Museum Archives of Art:

"Hiroshige's 100 Views of Edo" (renamed "Tokyo" in 1868)

depicting the life and times of the world's largest city (1 million+ people...)toward the end of the Shogunate Era,

just before Admiral Perry's arrival began the "Opening of Japan" to the Western World of commerce and industry...



Note: go to Google Images Search and Wikipedia to view a much larger collection of this Master's Life Work...

from which this is an example beyond his "100 Views of Edo"

View of Kagurazaka and Ushigome bridge to Edo Castle (牛込神楽坂の図), by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1840.

This is an excellent introductory text from the Collection:

"Edo was the city where the artist Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) was born, lived, and died,

and it is the place depicted in the majority of his landscape prints.

Edo (renamed Tokyo in 1868) was the largest city in the world by the eighteenth century,

with a population of more than one million people.

Established first as a castle town in 1590, Edo became the de facto political capital of Japan in 1603.

For the next two and a half centuries the country would be ruled by a lineage of feudal overlords (shoguns)

and regional military lords (daimyo).

Required to live in Edo on alternate years, the daimyo, with their families, household servants, and samurai, or military retainers,

accounted for about half of the city's population.

The remaining citizenry were mostly the many merchants and artisans (known as chōnin, or townspeople)

who provided for the material needs of the city, as well as a substantial contingent of Buddhist and Shinto priests.

In this prospering commercial center, economic power resided with the wealthy townspeople.

Artistic patronage and production no longer belonged only to the ruling elite but reflected diverse tastes and values.

A new urban culture developed, valuing the cultivation of leisure that was celebrated in annual festivals,

famous local sites, theaters, and entertainment neighborhoods.

The bustling urban experience and the landscape of the time were documented by ukiyo-e, or "pictures of the floating world,"

including woodblock prints like Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.

Since they could be purchased inexpensively—one print cost the same as a bowl of noodles—

Art Images became accessible to a wide audience."

(Johannes Gutenburg's printing presses, invented in Germany in 1450,had long ago become essential technology worldwide.)

Concise superlative text with concise superlative art, makes this online resource about the Cultural History of Japan a magnificent

Interdisciplinary Discovery Learning Unit / PBL Activity...

Art Project:


This particular page link has the most fantastic arts educational curriculum about

1. How to Read a Japanese Woodblock Print

2. The Step-by-Step Process in Making a Japanese Woodblock Print

3. The World of Hiroshige's Edo

4. Conservation

5. Publication and Bibliography


This is a portrait of the Master by another Artist, and it includes wonderful Japanese Calligraphy as well...


Allen Berg