The art of Japan

Japanese Art is a form of art that, as the name suggests, comes from Japan. It consists of Sculpture, Paintings, Calligraphy, and many other types of Media. I am going to summarise Japanese Religion and culture, and then go onto two artists or styles...

Japanese Culture, Religion and Language

Japanese Culture is semi-unique, in the fact that it has been influenced by other East-Asian cultures, while also maintaining a sense of difference, as it is an Archipelago. Although the Japanese language seems to be related to Korean and Chinese, they are all different! Chinese is a Sino-Tibetic language, Korean is a Korean language, and Japanese is a Japonic Language. There are two writing systems for Japanese: Kanji, which are Chinese characters, also used in Korean and Chinese, and Kana, which is a less compact writing system.

Japanese Religion is made up of Buddhism, showing influence from other countries, and Shinto, which is almost exclusivly Japanese. The two religions are used side by side. Buddhism is well known for a religion centered on peace and the route to liberation. Buddhism is also used side by side with Hinduism in Northern India. The fact that Buddhism goes alongside other religions is one of the things I like about Buddhism. Shinto is ancient, with records and traditions going back 2300 years. They also depict spirits differently to western cultures, as is shown in My Neighbor Totoro, an Anime film by Studio Ghibli. In the film, there are dust monsters which hide in dark rooms and only show themselves to people that they think are worthy of it, which in this case is children. They are seen as a friendly, and in some cases shy, spirit that balance humans and nature. There is also a giant Cat-like spirit called Totoro in the film. He is stumbled upon by the younger character Mei when he is sleeping and he is friendly, and somewhat curious. It is an interesting film, because it shows that what we have always thought about things in our soceity may be the opposite in other cultures.

Japanese Art varies in type. Most paintings are painted with a brush, and in fact, Japanese was almost exclusively written with brushes until recently! Sculptures are also popular, with roots going back 12,000 years, to the settlement of the first people in Japan, the nomadic Jōmon people. They were literally named after the cord markings that decorated the surfaces of their clay vessels, so in other words, they decorated their boats, which were made out of clay, with rope! That seems like a really good idea! They also made figurines, and built cities with huge populations. However, the weather got colder in later years (1500-300 BCE) and so they moved away from the Mountains, and towards the Sea. Because of this, this led them to create better boats, and because their main source of food was Fish, Sushi was created! As time went by, the culture evolved to what we have today.

Japanese Dragons

Japanese Dragons are mythic creatures which are depicted in art and stories. They are a mix of natve legends and similar stories from China, Vietnam, and Korea. They are like snakes, but with intricate characteristics. They are wingless, unlike western Dragons. Most of them are associated with rainfall and are considered water deities, and go by many names. They include:

There are some indigenous legends about Dragons, and a large part of the Dragon Culture is Chinese-Japanese. There are also Indian Dragons, from when Buddhist Monks brought Buddhism over to Japan. Because Indian Culture is based on Indo-European culture, the culture that started in Eastern Ukraine wth the Yamna Culture, which is the ancestor to Western Culture with the ancestors to the Latin-derived (French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian), Germanic (German, Gothic, and Norse), Balto-Slavic (Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish, and Czech), and Indo-Iranian (Sanskrit and Persian) languages, there could be a small connection to Western Dragons, but that is just me theorising, but there are Dragon Temples in Buddhism, and Dragon Shrines in Shinto, so Dragons are highly respected beings and spirits in Japanese Culture, and as a result, there are numerous paintings and drawings. I am going to show some now, although not many work with this presentation's format, so there are only a select few, mostly from DeviantArt...

Dragons, and indeed all creatures that we would usually consider to be monsters, are seen in Japanese Culture to be friendly, although some are evil. It is interesting to see something in one culture that is a mashup of several different ones. Now for the Cherry Blossom tree...

The Cherry Blossom Tree

A Cherry Blossomming Tree is not just one type of tree, but several. The most famous of them all is the Japanese Cherry, or Prunus Serrulata, commonly known as Sakura. They can be found in countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Mainland China, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Thailand and West Siberia. Along with the Chrysanthemum, Cherry Blossom is one of the national flowers of Japan. There is a centuries-old practice called Hanami, which is drinking under a Sakura or Ume tree. Ume trees are a similar sort of flowering tree, also called the Japanese Plum, the Chinese Plum, or the Korean Green Plum. The custom is said to have started in the Nara period, between 710 and 794 with Ume blossom, but by the Heian period, 794-1185, the Cherry Blossom had become the flower used in the tradition. It became a tradition that people would have lunch and drink Saké (or Rice Wine, which is an alcoholic drink made by brewing Rice) under the Sakura. Because of this, the word for Flower in Japanese became the word for Cherry Blossom. It has also made it's way into Japanese Art because it looks very nice and it is in the culture already. I am now going to show some images and drawings/paintings of Sakura trees...

The end!

This presentation was coded in HTML and CSS by James Young

Thank you to Wikipedia for most of the information and to w3Schools for showing me how to make these presentations, and to for hosting this presentation and for their amazing code editor. This presentation took about 100 lines of HTML code and 160 lines of CSS.

The text below is the CSS, or the code that stops this from looking weird.