Tokyobling's Blog

Tokyo University of Arts

Posted in Places by tokyobling on December 19, 2014

The most senior of all art universities in Japan, the Tokyo University of Arts might not be on top of anyone’s list of places to visit, but there is still a lot things to see. I visited on one of their days when they welcome the public and I am not sure how accessible the campus is on other days. One of the first things you see on the inner courtyard is Auguste Rodin’s The Vanquished (Le Vaincu, from a 1876 sculpt but I do not know when this particular bronze was cast). Not a bad way to start your day if you are an art student! There is quite a lot of sculpture on display in the inner garden of the university, and while none of the buildings are very impressive sometimes the views are.

The university itself was founded in 1949 of two smaller schools that were both founded in 1887. I definitively need to visit again.

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Rokuzan Ogiwara Museum – Nagano

Posted in Places by tokyobling on July 20, 2014

As Japan modernized and aligned with the rest of the world during the Meiji period of Japan (1868-1912), not only science, politics, religion and technology changed, but also art. Japanese artists were eager to understand and to master the new modern art styles of Europe and wealthy patrons sent out scores of promising artists to study abroad. One of these was a young man from Nagano prefecture, Rokuzan Ogiwara (1879-1910) who studied modern sculpture in both the US and France where he received instruction from the famous Rodin himself. Rokuzan was also a christian convert from an early age and a member of the temperance movement. His rather short life was ended by tuberculosis.

Almost as interesting as the man and his work themselves are the museum put up in his name in Hotaka, Azumino City. The main structure is built like a church and was funded by donations from local school children and teachers who also took part in the construction itself, which took many decades to finish in 1958. There is another completely modern concrete construction as well, and an almost ancient looking logg house construction put up completely by local students and teachers. Junior high school kids were pretty crafty back then! Everything in the garden and tiny museum grounds is designed, from the concrete tables to the hidden spouts of the rain gutter. It is easy to tell that a lot of people put a lot of effort in this place.

You can read more about the museum here on their official website.

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Outside The National Museum of Western Art – Rodin

Posted in Places by tokyobling on February 21, 2012

Living in Tokyo and being very conscious of my love for all things Japanese it is very easy to miss out on some of all the great western culture here in Japan, and none of the things I have managed to miss out on has made me more surprised than the statue park outside the National Museum of Western Art. A lot of works by none other than the legendary Rodin, including some of his most famous work, The Thinker, The Burgers of Calais, Hercules the Archer, and in the background my all time favorite bronze statue, the Gates of Hell (which I will blog about later on this month). The statues are all in the forecourt of the museum from the entrance closest to Ueno Park and Ueno Station, and can be seen for free during the day. How many countries place Rodin statues out in the open for anyone to see like this? Fantastic Tokyo, once again!




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