Modern Japanese painting is a clever mix of very diverse artistic influences.
The traditional painting
Modern Japanese painting is the result of mastery of ancient techniques perpetuated for long periods of self-sufficiency, and the influence of western countries since the 1800s.
Indeed, at the beginning, Japanese painting was largely nourished by Chinese art and the religion of Buddhism. The first Temples were decorated by Koreans and their Japanese pupils. They were the first to leave an imprint of indigenous Japanese art.
Influence of the West
The country remained locked in for hundreds of years. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the conflict of modernity and openness to the West against patriotism generated two new trends:
- 日本画 / Nihonga (日本/Nihon = Japan, 画/Ga = Image): representative of the Japanese tradition
- 洋画 / Yoga (洋/Yo = Western style, 画/Ga = Image): incorporating all Western techniques
Japanese painters learned new techniques during their initiation trips to Europe in particular. The art of painting evolved, changed but retained its vision of perfection.
漫画 / Manga (漫/Man = comic, 画/Ga = Image) is the pop culture version of modern Japanese art. It spread rapidly in the 80s around the world.
In many works, such as Princess Mononoke, Hunter x Hunter and Akira, we see the ambivalence of a traumatized country: the protagonists often "kawaii" evolve in violent worlds. Under this sometimes-raw truth, the characters teach us lessons in life, without being Manichaean.