Japan Italy: Boom Beat Bubble

BOOM| BEAT| BUBBLE Japanese Prints  sixties | seventies | eighties

Photo credits: lazionauta.it

An interesting exhibition just closed at the Japanese Cultural Institute in Rome: BOOM | BEAT | BUBBLE by Marcella Cossu.

The exhibition, that began on May 4 and ended on October 12, dealt with prints, a typical Japanese art that started with the current of the ukiyo-e (浮世 絵 "images of the floating world") in the XVII and which continues today still.

From the "Economic Miracle" to the "Speculative Bubble"

Photo credits:  roma.repubblica.it

The peculiarity of this evocative exhibition was the choice of the historical period. Three decades closer to us than we might think, 60s, 70s and 80s, opening a door and making us discover the evolution of modern Japan as we know it. We could call it the Japanese counterpart of that most popular American Pop Art with Warhol.

We saw the BOOM, the explosion of the 60s with the "economic miracle" where Japan on its knees after the defeat in World War II managed to recover from the crisis due to the peak of the economy. Moving to the BEAT after the '68 which also affected them with a changing world leading to the decade of the 70s that saw Japan emerge and stand as one of the world's powerful nations. And the 80s with the BUBBLE, the "speculative bubble" that broke out during the following decade with the consequent rising prices of stocks in the financial and property sector .

With multiple topics, 24 artists and 54 works, it was not the usual exhibition.

Prints that are still modern today.

Photo credits: jfroma.it

Japan Italy Bridge Tips: From Kyoto to Rome - Japanese craftsmanship on display

From Kyoto to Rome: Japanese craftsmanship on display

Photo credits: google images

The restaurant, tea room and bookshop Doozo, that in Japanese means ‘you are welcome’, is a place where you can spend your free time in a dimension of exchange, growth and comparison between two cultures that are distant from one another: the Italian one and the Japanese one. Here, at the exhibition space, Saturday October 28th, Rome will meet Japan through the event: "From Kyoto to Rome: Japanese craftsmanship on display".

The protagonists will be Takaaki Saida, 39, stone artisan and sculptor of tōrō lanterns in Kyoto and Akihiro Mashimo, 40, a bamboo craftsman known for creating a 1 mile long promenade. They are among the last recognized Master Craftsmen left in Japan.

Members of the Kyōtoshokuninkōbo Handcraft Laboratory (京都 職 人工 房) they will showcase the Japanese craft tradition in Italy, after being in America at the Anderson Japanese Garden. This was made possible thanks to a fund obtained from the Kameoka Chamber of Commerce in Kyoto. The following day, October 29, it will be possible to take part in a workshop aimed at the creation of the traditional bamboo basket together with the master craftsman Akihiro Mashimo.

Photo credits: google images

The intention of the two young masters is to spread the techniques for working stone and bamboo with live demonstrations. Takaaki Saida will give a demonstration of traditional craftsmanship through stone engraving, also using a video clip to explain the history of this ancient craft. On the other hand, Mashimo will show how to cut and manipulate bamboo to create traditional fences for Japanese gardens along with other commonly used items.

Photo credits: google images


“From Kyoto to Rome: Japanese craftsmanship on display”

Doozo art book & sushi - Via Palermo 51-53, Roma - Tel. 06 481 56 55 - Email. info@doozo.it

October 28, Saturday, from 15.00 to 19.00,  free entry;
October 29, Sunday, from 16.00 to 18.00, workshop with admission fee

During the two-days event you will be able to taste a Saké-based aperitif offered by the 3 Japanese sponsors of the exhibition:

Tatenokawa Shizou 楯野川 with a Junmaidaiginjou Seiryu 純米大吟醸
Nagai shuzou 永井酒造株式会社 with a Junmaiginjou Mizubashou 水芭蕉
Konishi shuzou 小西酒造 with a Junmaishu Aobaenosumikirijunmai 碧冴えの澄みきり純米

Japan Italy: Hokusai "In the footsteps of the master"

Hokusai: In the footsteps of the master

Photo credits: arapacis.it

Katsushika Hokusai (葛 飾 北 斎?, Edo, October or November 1760 - Edo, May 10, 1849) was a Japanese painter and engraver, mainly known for his ukiyo-e works. This is an art genre typical of Japan and it consists of a print on paper with a wooden mold, thriving in the Edo period.

With a career over sixty years long where he explored various forms of art, he is known by the public mainly thanks to his famous 'Hundred views of Mount Fuji'. In particular the "Kanagawa Great Wave", which has become the symbol of this collection, is now part of the mass culture. His works not only spread all over the world, but have also been a source of inspiration for many European impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, and many post-Impressionists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

For some years now, Italy has been hosting several exhibitions dedicated to this great artist. First in Milan at the Museo del '900 and now in Rome. In fact, from October 12, 2017 to January 14, 2018, at the Ara Pacis Museum, Hokusai's works will be available to the public in an exhibition called "In The Footsteps of the Master". A great display that illustrates and compares about 200 works from Master Hokusai’s production with those of the artists that followed in his footsteps.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

The exhibition held at the Royal Palace in Milan preceded the one held at the British Museum in London, and now in the Italian capital it is possible to admire works gathered from different museums and collections. Among others, the Chiba City Museum of Art, and important Japanese collectors like Uragami Mitsuru Collection and Kawasaki Isago no Sato Museum, as well as the Museo d’arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone in Genoa.

As we mentioned before, this exhibition illustrates and compares Master Hokusai’s production with that of some of the artists who followed in his footsteps, creating new lines, new shapes, new colors, and a new ukiyo-e school.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

From nature to kabuki actors, from female beauties to warriors, arriving to the imagery of ghosts, spirits and semi-legendary beings, these will be the themes that visitors will find on display. The techniques and formats Hokusai used for his works varies greatly. From ink and color painting realised on vertical or horizontal scrolls, to polychromatic xylographies of all sizes, to the finest surimi. The latter were used as greeting cards, invitations for tea ceremonies and more.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

From the press release of the exhibition, we can read that the showcase consists of five sections that will cover the most fashionable and most sought themes from the market of the time:

1- MEISHŌ: places not to be missed

It features the most famous series of Hokusai: the Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji, the Eight views of Ōmi, the three volumes on the Hundred views of Fuji and a scroll painting of Mount Fuji, presented for the first time in Italy and in absolute preview.

This section illustrates travel destinations and famous places that a Japanese of the Edo period shouldn’t absolutely miss or at least had to know: waterfalls, bridges and natural places of the faraway provinces, views of Mount Fuji from renowned spots, inns and restaurants, and postal towns along the Tōkaido road that connected Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto.

There is also Hokusai’s "Great Wave", which can be appreciated in two different versions that will be alternated halfway through the exposition for conservative reasons: one from the Museo d’arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone of Genoa, the other from the Kawasaki Isago no Sato Museum collection, as well as many other important xyloghaphies of the Thirty-eight views of Mount Fuji comparable in their double version..

2- Fashionable beauty

A series of remarkable scroll paintings and polygraphic xylographies dedicated to the portraits of female beauties and courtesans from the famous tea houses in Yoshiwara's renowned entertainment district compares the style of master Hokusai with that of some of his most famous students including Gessai Utamasa, Ryūryūkyō Shinsai, Hokumei, Teisai Hokuba.

In particular, it underlines the novelty of Keisai Eisen’s composition, great personality in the field of female portrait, that draws a true fashion reportage, wrapping up his women and putting them in a position able to highlight their kimonos and imposing obi, refined fabrics with elegant motifs, very colorful and always designed down to the smallest detail.

In this context, it has also been included a small but sophisticated collection of images linked to seduction and the world of pleasure and eroticism, that compares Hokusai with Eisen through "dangerous"  (abunae) xyloghraphies, in which  some love-exchange situations can be perceived without revealing its sexual aspect, sublimated through the beauty of fabrics and clothes that cover the bodies and make the audience dream, as well as the famous pages of Hokusai’s erotic volume "Kinoe no Komatsu".

3- Fortune and good deed

In a xylography format, belonging to Eisen in this case, and through a series of eleven scroll paintings by Hokusai representing people’s divinities of fortune, the audience can see some of the most popular subjects of the time like charms, protections, wish for special occasions. All works exhibited for the first time in Italy.

4- Capture the essence of nature

A comparison between Hokusai and his students through a series of scroll paintings from Japan on the theme of nature and animals to emphasize the classic motifs of painting with "flowers and birds", and the symbolic value of some animals such as dragon, tiger, carp, rooster reproposed in the style of each artist.

5- Manga and manuals to learn

The complete series of 15 volumes of Hokusai's Mangas are displayed in this section and it refer to the traits and the strength that the master is able to give to every creature he decides to represent, but also to his will to teach the rules of painting to artists and enthusiasts. Beside Hokusai’s volumes, an album of his student Shotei retraces subjects and forms of his master offering similar pages full of drawings and sketches.

Photo credits: arapacis.it


Museo dell'Ara Pacis


From October 12, 2017 to January 14, 2018
Every day  9.30-19.30
On December 24 and 31 9.30-14.00

The ticket office closes an hour before
Closed on December 25 and January 1

Admission ticket

Exhibition only:

€ 11,00 whole-price ticket; € 9,00€ reduced-price ticket


Tel. 060608 every day 9.00-19.00

The 100 views of Mount Fuji in Arcore

Photo credits: arapacis.it

At the same time, after the great success of the exhibition in Milan, Hokusai returns to Lombardy and this time comes to Arcore.  The free entrance exhibition entitled "HOKUSAI. 100 views of Fuji. One hundred ways to talk about God without ever naming him” inaugurated on Saturday, October 7. The exhibition organised by Bruno Gallotta and Alberto Moioli is hosted by the Scuderie of Villa Borromeo and will allow the public to see 102 images created by the hand of the great Japanese artist.

Photo credits: wikipedia.org 

This exhibition illustrates the spiritual interpretation that the Japanese artist has unconsciously (or deliberately) inserted into his works.

“It has been proven that Hokusai was a faithful Buddhist and is equally certain that he was an educated person: so he knew well that "FU NI", as well as being one of the possible ways to write the name of the famous volcano, is a particularly significant expression of the Mahayana Buddhism from which derived all the Buddhist traditions that spread in China and Japan”, the organisers say.
“This exhibition aims to demonstrate that the Mount Fuji used by Hokusai as a spiritual symbol and called "FU NI" contemplates both meanings. For this purpose, for interested visitors, some copies of the exegetical text have been prepared and are available for free consultation”.

Photo credits: wikipedia.org 

Thanks to the sponsorship of the European Office of Zen Buddhism (Soto), the showcase finally comes to Arcore after having touched Lodi in 2015 and Piacenza in 2016 as part of the celebrations for 150 years of relationship between Italy and Japan.

The exhibition is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 7pm.

Photo credits: wikipedia.org 

Schedule and related events


Scuderie of Villa Borromeo


October 7 – 22, 2017
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm

Related events

Sunday, October 8 at 17pm, meeting with Giuseppe Jiso Forzani "Art, Nature, Religion in Japanese Sensibility"

Tuesday, October 10, at the Nuovo Teatro Cinema of Arcore, the film dedicated to the Japanese master and created by the British Museum of London will be screened in Italian.

Saturday, October 14 at 17pm, meeting with Bruno Gallotta "Hokusai: An Unprecedented Reading" An interpretative key still unexplored ".

Saturday, October 21 at 17 pm meeting with Ornella Civardi "Jisei" - Reading of Japanese poems with the musical accompaniment of Alexander Zyumbrovskiy’s cello.

Japan Italy: Ōki Izumi's "Ponti di luce" (Bridges of Light)

 Ōki Izumi's "Ponti di luce" (Bridges of Light) on display in Genoa

Photo credits: artslife.com

Ōki Izumi, a sculptor born in Tokyo, Japan, studied literature, painting and sculpture with Aiko Miyawaki, Taku Iwasaki and Yoshishige Saito. In 1997 she won a scholarship from the Italian government and in 1981 she graduated at the Brera Academy under the guidance of Giancarlo Marchese.

She has participated in several installations between Italy, Japan and other nations. The most recent one is "Ponti di Luce" on display in Genoa from 19 April 2017 to 1 October 2017 at the The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art. This particular exhibition is a dialogue between the permanent works of the museum and the contemporary sculptures of this Japanese sculptor.

A bridge between Japan and Italy, between ancient and modern. Here, the sculptures with the typical blue-green color of the industrial glass, the only material used by the artist, recall natural elements. Air and water undertake a dialogue with the precious Japanese and Oriental art heritage, gathered in Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912) by Edoardo Chiossone.

Sinuous curves and beveled corner

Photo credits: artslife.com

The museum houses Japanese works of various ages, paintings, weapons and armors, pottery, masks and a rich collection of big sculptures from Japan, China and Siam.

As we have just said, the exhibition "Ponti di Luce" focuses on the processing of industrial glass, which transforms in the hands of the artist. Between sinuous curves and beveled corners, her works becomes a transparent skyline representing "Past-Present-Future", the waves of Japanese seas, surrealistic shells and bright prisms. Their reflections glimmer on the ancient artworks in the same hall.

Izumi's works are made of stratifications. Plates assembled while the transparency of the matter becomes an integral part of the place, and constantly changes thanks to the light and the reflections that are created.

Photo credits: artslife.com

Everything starts with a detailed and precise design, made of numerical calculations that from a rough sketch become sculpture. Regardless of their size, whether they are small jewelry or large installations, in these artworks you can find all the typical Oriental accuracy and attention.

The purpose of the works

The purpose, as the artist confirms, is to emphasize the harmony of shapes and make the spectator reflect by baring it through the transformation of a hard and hardly malleable material into something soft and pliable. Oki Izumi once again wanted to emphasize the contrast between antiquity and modernity, highlighting the contact points between the two spheres of time. An evolving art that over the years frees herself from all excesses becoming more and more conceptual and poetic.

Photo credits: artslife.com

The exhibition is sponsored by the Japanese Cultural Institute and is included in the official celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of the Relationships between Japan and Italy.

WHERE: The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art, piazzale Giuseppe Mazzini 4, Genoa
WHEN: from 19 April, Wednesday, to 1 October 2017,Sunday.  Tue-Fri 09:00 – 19:00; Sat-Sun 10:00 – 19:30

Info: museochiossone@comune.genova.it
Tel. 010542285


Japan Italy: Etegami "Discovering Italy through the eyes of Japanese children"

Etegami: discovering Italy through the eyes of Japanese children

Italy is recognized as one of the most beautiful and appreciated countries of the world not only thanks to its beautiful landscapes, but mainly for the profound cultural riches that our country offers. From June 16, 2017, in Pisa, is taking place an exhibition called “Etegami. How Japanese children see Italy”. This exhibition has been organized by the Japan Italy Foundation and by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, together with the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Cultural Institute. On display, there are the works of several Japanese children that were asked to describe Italy as they see it through their eyes. The results are not only impressive but also touching.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

But what is an Etegami exactly? An Etegami is one of the most popular and loved methods used by Japanese people. It consists in a simple drawing accompanied by a short and heartfelt message using black ink to define lines and writing, and watercolors to realize the insides. Even if not all the postcards sent by children were realized following this precise style, each and every one of them were based on the 7 fundamental principle of the Etegami, established by Kunio Koike in the 60s.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

The 7 fundamental principle of Etegami

From the Japan Italy Foundation official site:

1. Being good is fine, but not being good is better

The motto of Etegami is “Being good is fine, but not being good is better”. If the drawing was done with commitment and passion it is not necessary to have high drawing skills. In an Etegami written in a personal style and with commitment, the personality of an individual is easily perceived. The most important thing is the way we look at the postcard: it has to be unique and original; even if you are not skilled it will still remain a unique piece of art.

2. Do not make a draft

In an Etegami, it doesn't exists the concept of “I made a mistake..!”. So, every time is the real thing. When we make a draft there’s the idea that we need to do everything in the best way and realize a perfect work worrying about making a good impression. Appearance ends up having priority over something that identifies us. A postcard is successful when it is able to show the natural face of the person who made it. An impromptu Etegami without a draft has to convey the mood of the moment in which it was realized and what it was meant to express is that moment.

3. Draw after an attentive observation and draw ‘big’

An Etegami does not have an imposed model. On the contrary, it has “the principle of strenuously gaze without averting the eyes”, or else, it is drawn after an attentive observation of the original subject. If we attentively look at fruit, vegetables, flowers and all the other things that surround us, we will notice details we didn't notice before.

On “Etegami” postcards we advice to ‘draw big’. By increasing the size even two or three times the original, and by a strenuous and attentive observation, almost without noticing it, our observation spirit will gradually sharpen. Even if the card cannot contain the whole drawing it’s ok. The person watching it will imagine the cut out part in his/her own way.

4. Represent only one thing

To those who start to draw an Etegami for the first time we suggest they choose only one object. It is necessary to stare at it without averting the eyes from it.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

5.Draw each line carefully and slowly

When we draw contour lines quickly we end up forgetting to observe with attention. If we draw slowly we can really focus on what we are doing. Moreover, the more you proceed slowly, the easier it will be for the feeling to penetrate. The aim of drawing a line slowly is "drawing concentrating all our energies in thinking about the person to whom it is dedicated". In fact an expressive line is something that only appears when we trace it with all our energies. So, the important thing is to draw focusing on expressing our own feelings.

6.Always send what you have done

Let’s always send the Etegami we have realized! The meaning of this postcard is not: I’ll send it when I’ve become skilled; since it did not come out as I wanted it to, I won’t send it! The idea of making a mistake does not belong to Etegami. Even if one thinks he made a wrong Etegami, since it has been made according to his own personality, it still is what he did in that moment. There is a particular charm in this.

Etegami distribute happiness. Both people who draw them and people who receive them have fun and become cheerful. Let's always send them out.

7.Write words with all your heart

It is important that the words that accompany the drawing are few and that they are written naturally, as you have felt them in your mind. Do not worry if these words do not always relate to the things that are depicted. The good thing of Etegami is that it does not chain you to the rigid epistolary style. There is no need for the initial greeting formula usually found in letters. Let’s write with a clear handwriting thinking only of whom will read it.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

Children are the future of our world, we all know this, and the The Italian Institute of Culture in Tokyo has asked several Japanese children to draw Italy according to their imagination. Primary and middle school children across Japan have met this request and have drawn over 25,000 Etegami that are now exhibited in Pisa, at the Museum of Graphics.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

It is exciting to see how these drawings show us curious and suggestive images of how children of the rising sun country see our beautiful nation. A vision of Italy in in manga/anime style, filled with hopes, imagination and dreams of little Japanese children.

The initiative was born as part of ‘Italy in Japan’, the first and most important promotional initiative of the Sistema Italia (Italian System) abroad. Initiative that has seen our country protagonist in over 800 events throughout Japan.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

Published by Polistampa, the catalog of the exhibition contains a selection of 300 Etegami divided into sections dedicated to cities and historical monuments, or characteristic aspects of Italian life and culture such as music and cooking. And there is also a special section entirely devoted to Pinocchio's character.

A jury of representatives of the organizing authorities together with Professor Shigetoshi Osano, professor of Art History at University of Tokyo, selected the most beautiful works to be published. Three winners were also nominated and were allowed to come to Italy as guests of Alitalia - Italia Tours.

Photo Credits : http://www.museodellagrafica.unipi.it

It is possible to see the exhibition from June 16, 2017 to September 30, 2017 at the Museum of Graphics at Palazzo Lanfranchi in Pisa.

Info & Contacts:



Japan Italy Bridge Tips: Edogawa Fireworks

Edogawa Fireworks

Edogawa fireworks, japan italy bridge

photo credit: ajpscs

If you are in Tokyo this summer we suggest this wonderful event that for 42 years has been entertaining people of Edogawa (Special ward of Tokyo that takes it’s name from Edo River).
The Edogawa Fireworks Festival takes place every first Saturday of August, where for 75 minutes you won’t be able to take your eyes from the sky. A show with more than 14,000 fireworks shot up into Tokyo’s sky.

We suggest you watch the show Shinozaki Park, about 15 minutes on foot from Shinozaki Station. Obviously it is a free event but hurry up if you want to catch the perfect spot! Right in time to be amazed by the spectacular opening with about 1000 golden and silver fireworks shot up into the sky only during the first incredible minutes.

If you are not sure to catch a spot then you can reserve one buying your thicket on this site (Japanese only).

Whether you go alone, or with your lover, whether you are with your friends or your family… Don’t miss this unique event!!

DATE: 5th Aug, 2017
STARTING/FINISHING TIME: 07:15pm – 08:30pm
LOCATION: Edogawa Fireworks Festival Location
ENTRY: Free / Reservable seats here (Japanese only)
WHERE: Ichikawa, Tokyo

Edogawa fireworks

photo credit: cate♪

photo credit: Luke Kaneko