Tenshin Okakura realized the value of Japanese art after being taught by Ernest Fenollosa.

Tenshin Okakura Memorial Park (Normally, the door of Rokkaku-do is closed.)

 
Tenshin Okakura Memorial Park

Tenshin Okakura (Courtesy of Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art, Ibaraki)

 
  Tenshin Okakura (Kakuzo Okakura; 1863-1913) was born in Yokohama, and studied at Tokyo Kaisei Gakko (present-day University of Tokyo). He was strongly influenced by the artistic theory of Ernest Fenollosa who was a lecturer at Tokyo Kaisei Gakko. Then, he worked for the Ministry of Education, and, together with Fenollosa, was sent on an inspection tour of Western art. In 1890, Tenshin succeeded Arata Hamao, the first principal of Tokyo Fine Arts School, and became the second principal. At first, Fenollosa and other instructors, including Mayori Kurokawa, Gaho Hashimoto, Koun Takamura, Gyokusho Kawabata, Shoseki Kose and Natsuo Kano, taught at the school, creating the actual foundation of it. Later, Seiki Kuroda, Takeji Fujishima, Eisaku Wada, Saburosuke Okada and others arrived to take up positions of instructors at the departments of Western Painting and Design. In 1898, Tenshin left the school, and, together with Gaho Hashimoto, Taikan Yokoyama, Kanzan Shimomura, Shunso Hishida and others, founded the Japan Art Institute. This course of events indicates that, at that time, Japan was torn between respect for the Eastern tradition and a breath of fresh air from the West. "Statue of Tenshin Okakura" by Denchu Hirakushi is placed in Rokkaku-do, located in the grounds of the Faculty of Fine Arts, which was built to commemorate Tenshin Okakura.
  Tenshin Okakura Memorial Park was made by Taito City in 1967, commemorating the site where the Japan Art Institute, founded by Tenshin Okakura, Taikan Yokoyama and others, who all left Tokyo Fine Arts School, previously stood. Rokkaku-do, which was built to commemorate Tenshin Okakura, stands in the park, and a seated statue of Tenshin, created by Denchu Hirakushi, is placed in the building. (5-7-10 Yanaka, Taito City)

Jump to Tokyo University of the Arts's pages

 

"Statue of Tenshin Okakura" by Denchu Hirakushi (Courtesy of Tokyo University of the Arts)
 
The site of Tenshin's residence in Yanaka, Taito City (former Yanaka Hatsune-cho), where the Japan Art Institute was once located, is now kept as "Tenshin Okakura Memorial Park." A light pink is reflected on Rokkaku-do during the season of cherry blossoms.

 
The monument of Yanaka bush warblers at the site of the Japan Art Institute

A poem composed by Tenshin, which was written by Taikan Yokoyama, is engraved on the monument. Images of a bush warbler and a red-flowering Japanese apricot are also engraved.

  谷中鶯 初音の血に染む 紅梅花
  堂々男子は死んでもよい
  奇骨侠骨 開落栄枯も 何のその
  堂々男子は死んでもよい
 
  Bush warblers in Yanaka, When they first sing, cherry blossoms turn brilliant pink
  A man should die in a dignified manner
  Eccentricity, chivalry, prosperity and decline do not matter
  A man should die in a dignified manner

  Tenshin Okakura (1863-1913) became the second principal of Tokyo Fine Arts School (present-day Tokyo University of the Arts), worked hard to lay the foundation of art schools in Japan, and later established the Japan Art Institute. He, as the director of the Chinese and Japanese Art Department, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, also strove to introduce and promote Japanese art.
  Tenshin was born in 1863 in Yokohama, which has an international port, studied the Chinese classics at Choenji Temple where he temporarily lived in after his mother died, mastered English at a private school, and collected Japanese art works as an assistant of Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1908) utilizing his English proficiency. Through those experiences, he became an internationally-minded person and played a leading role in the fields of Japanese and Asian art. Fenollosa became interested in Japanese art works, which were disregard due to the disorder of the Meiji Restoration and the anti-Buddhist movement, and studied Japanese art, making values of those art works widely known in the world. He was a person who most contribute to the revival of Japanese art.
  Fenollosa, along with Tenshin, surveyed treasures of old shrines and temples under the orders of the picture survey committee, the Ministry of Education, and opened the door of Yume Dono (Hakkaku Endo) at Horyuji Temple. It seems that those experiences led Tenshin to build Rokkaku-do (Kanran-tei).

 
A newspaper article and photograph reporting the foundation of the Japan Art Institute

The article reported with surprise that Tenshin resigned as the principal of Tokyo Fine Arts School and some professors also left the school. When Tenshin founded the Japan Art Institute in 1898, business and official circles in Japan and the United States donated money to the institute. Gaho Hashimoto, Tenshin Okakura, Taikan Yokoyama and Shunso Hishida appear in the photograph of the opening ceremony.


"Goho Chojin" by Denchu Hirakushi (created in 1962)

Tenshin moved the Japan Art Institute to Izura, Ibaraki Prefecture (present-day Izura, Kitaibaraki City) in 1906, which he called "Barbizon of the East" after the institute had fallen into financial difficulties. Although Taikan Yokoyama, Shunso Hishida, Kanzan Shimomura, Buzan Kimura and others who went along with Tenshin had hard lives in Izura, they developed new styles of Japanese art. Although Tenshin who moved in Izura busily traveled across the country and overseas, he also became enthusiastic about fishing and called himself "Izura Rojin," or old man in Izura, and "Goho Chojin," or fisherman in Izura. Denchu Hirakushi who respected Tenshin created "Goho Chojin" repeatedly. (Courtesy of Izura Institute of Art & Culture, Ibaraki University)

 
"Statue of Tenshin Okakura" by Denchu Hirakushi (Tenshin Okakura Memorial Park in Taito City)
 
"Statue of Tenshin Okakura" by Denchu Hirakushi, which is placed in Rokkaku-do, truly indicates Tenshin's self-confidence that he had profound knowledge of Japanese art and Hirakushi's respect for Tenshin. Tenshin wore a gown that he specified as a uniform for Tokyo Fine Arts School.

 


Izura Misaki Park at Izura, Ibaraki Prefecture, where "Tenshin," a film that supports the reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, was shot.

 


The film "Tenshin" (directed by Katsuya Matsumura, starring Naoto Takenaka) was filmed at Izura Misaki Park at Izura, Ibaraki Prefecture, and released in 2013. Buildings of the Japan Art Institute were reconstructed at the park. The film was premiered in Taito City, and then showed throughout the country.
 

Film "Tenshin"
Tenshin Okakura (Courtesy of Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art, Ibaraki)

 
  Tenshin Okakura (Kakuzo Okakura; 1863-1913) was born in Yokohama, and studied at Tokyo Kaisei Gakko (present-day University of Tokyo). He was strongly influenced by the artistic theory of Ernest Fenollosa who was a lecturer at Tokyo Kaisei Gakko. Then, he worked for the Ministry of Education, and, together with Fenollosa, was sent on an inspection tour of Western art. In 1890, Tenshin succeeded Arata Hamao, the first principal of Tokyo Fine Arts School, and became the second principal. At first, Fenollosa and other instructors, including Mayori Kurokawa, Gaho Hashimoto, Koun Takamura, Gyokusho Kawabata, Shoseki Kose and Natsuo Kano, taught at the school, creating the actual foundation of it. Later, Seiki Kuroda, Takeji Fujishima, Eisaku Wada, Saburosuke Okada and others arrived to take up positions of instructors at the departments of Western Painting and Design. In 1898, Tenshin left the school, and, together with Gaho Hashimoto, Taikan Yokoyama, Kanzan Shimomura, Shunso Hishida and others, founded the Japan Art Institute. This course of events indicates that, at that time, Japan was torn between respect for the Eastern tradition and a breath of fresh air from the West. "Statue of Tenshin Okakura" by Denchu Hirakushi is placed in Rokkaku-do, located in the grounds of the Faculty of Fine Arts, which was built to commemorate Tenshin Okakura.
  Tenshin Okakura Memorial Park was made by Taito City in 1967, commemorating the site where the Japan Art Institute, founded by Tenshin Okakura, Taikan Yokoyama and others, who all left Tokyo Fine Arts School, previously stood. Rokkaku-do, which was built to commemorate Tenshin Okakura, stands in the park, and a seated statue of Tenshin, created by Denchu Hirakushi, is placed in the building. (5-7-10 Yanaka, Taito City)
 
 

Jump to Tokyo University of the Arts's pages
 

 


"Statue of Tenshin Okakura" by Denchu Hirakushi (Courtesy of Tokyo University of the Arts)
 

The site of Tenshin's residence in Yanaka, Taito City (former Yanaka Hatsune-cho), where the Japan Art Institute was once located, is now kept as "Tenshin Okakura Memorial Park." A light pink is reflected on Rokkaku-do during the season of cherry blossoms.

 

The monument of Yanaka bush warblers at the site of the Japan Art Institute
A poem composed by Tenshin, which was written by Taikan Yokoyama, is engraved on the monument. Images of a bush warbler and a red-flowering Japanese apricot are also engraved.

  谷中鶯 初音の血に染む 紅梅花
  堂々男子は死んでもよい
  奇骨侠骨 開落栄枯も 何のその
  堂々男子は死んでもよい
 
  Bush warblers in Yanaka, When they first sing, cherry blossoms turn brilliant pink
  A man should die in a dignified manner
  Eccentricity, chivalry, prosperity and decline do not matter
  A man should die in a dignified manner