Nikkō Tōshō-gū is a Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine located in Nikkō, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Together with Futarasan Shrine and Rinnō-ji, it forms the Shrines and Temples of Nikkō UNESCO World Heritage Site, with 42 structures of the shrine included in the nomination. Five of them are designated as National Treasures of Japan, three more as Important Cultural Properties. Tōshō-gū is dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, it was built in 1617, during the Edo period, while Ieyasu's son Hidetada was shōgun. It was enlarged during the time of Iemitsu. Ieyasu is enshrined there, where his remains are entombed; this shrine was built by Tokugawa retainer Tōdō Takatora. During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate carried out stately processions from Edo to the Nikkō Tōshō-gū along the Nikkō Kaidō; the shrine's annual spring and autumn festivals reenact these occasions, are known as "processions of a thousand warriors". Part of the beauty is the row of majestic trees lining the roadway, termed the Cedar Avenue of Nikkō.
Five structures at Nikkō Tōshō-gū are categorized as National Treasures of Japan, three more as Important Cultural Properties. Additionally, two swords in the possession of the shrine are National Treasures, numerous other objects are Important Cultural Properties. Famous buildings at the Tōshō-gū include the richly decorated Yōmeimon, a gate, known as "higurashi-no-mon"; the latter name means that one could look at it until sundown, not tire of seeing it. Carvings in deep relief, painted in rich colors, decorate the surface of the structure; the next gate is the karamon decorated with white ornaments. Located nearby is a woodcarving of a sleepy cat, "Nemuri-neko", attributed to Hidari Jingorō; the stable of the shrine's sacred horses bears a carving of the three wise monkeys, who hear and see no evil, a traditional symbol in Chinese and Japanese culture. The original five-storey pagoda was donated by a daimyō in 1650, but it was burned down during a fire, was rebuilt in 1818; each storey represents an element–earth, fire and aether –in ascending order.
Inside the pagoda, a central shinbashira pillar hangs from chains to minimize damage from earthquakes. Hundreds of stone steps lead through the cryptomeria forest up to the grave of Ieyasu. A torii at the top bears calligraphy attributed to Emperor Go-Mizunoo. A bronze urn contains the remains of Tokugawa Ieyasu. In 2008 Yuri Kawasaki became the first female Shinto priest to serve at Nikkō Tōshō-gū. List of National Treasures of Japan List of National Treasures of Japan Shinbashira, the central wooden column freely suspended Official website Official website UNESCO website - Shrines and Temples of Nikko Accessibility of Nikkō Tōshō-gū
Imperial Court in Kyoto
The Imperial Court in Kyoto was the nominal ruling government of Japan from 794 AD until the Meiji period, after which the court was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo and integrated into the Meiji government. The shogunate system came after the Imperial Court, with Minamoto no Yoritomo being the first to establish the post of the shōgun as hereditary, in 1192. Since Minamoto no Yoritomo launched the shogunate, true power was in the hand of the shōguns, who were mistaken several times for the Emperors of Japan by western countries. Five regent houses Heian Palace Kyoto Gosho
Ueno Tōshō-gū is a Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine located in the Taitō ward of Tokyo, Japan. First established in 1627 by Tōdō Takatora and renovated in 1651 by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the shrine remains intact since that time, making it a great example of Shinto architecture in the Edo period. Several of those surviving structures have been designated Important Cultural Properties. Tōshō-gū shrines are characterized by enshrining Tokugawa Ieyasu with the name Tōshō Daigongen. Ueno Tōshō-gū enshrines two other Tokugawa shōguns, Tokugawa Yoshimune and Tokugawa Yoshinobu. Located inside of Ueno Park, Ueno Tōshō-gū has become a popular attraction. Ueno Tōshō-gū is said to have been built by Tōdō Takatora, it is known that in 1627 it was dedicated to the memory of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. In 1651 the honden of the shrine was rebuilt in the gongen-zukuri style by Tokugawa Iemitsu, grandson of Ieyasu and the third Tokugawa shōgun.
Until 1868, the shrine was part of the Tendai Buddhist temple Kan'ei-ji. Unlike much of the buildings in the surrounding area, Ueno Tōshō-gū has remained intact throughout the many earthquakes and wars, including the Battle of Ueno in 1868 and the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923. Tokugawa Yoshimune and Tokugawa Yoshinobu are enshrined in Ueno Tōshō-gū. A karamon is a type of mon in Japanese architecture characterized by the use of karahafu, a type of curved gable with a style peculiar to Japan; the karamon at Ueno Tōshō-gū was built in 1651, it is designated an Important Cultural Property. The pillars of the gate are decorated with two carved dragons, they are known as Noboriryu and Kudariryu, according to the legend, every night the two dragons go to the nearby Shinobazu Pond to drink from its water. There carvings are attributed to the fictiona artist Hidari Jingorō. Jingorō is credited with some of the decoration at the famous Nikkō Tōshō-gū in Nikkō, Tochigi Prefecture. In addition to the gold foil, there are several hand carved decorations, including flowers and dragons on both sides of the gates.
It is said that the carvings on the gate and on the sukibei wall depict a total of over two hundred species of plants and animals. The main building of the shrine is a honden in the Gongen-zukuri style, a complex Shinto shrine structure in which the haiden, or worship hall, the heiden, or offertory hall, the honden, are all interconnected under the same roof; the whole building dates from 1651, it is designated an Important Cultural Property. There is no admission fee for visitors to enter most of the shrine precincts, but there is a fee in order to go beyond the karamon; this allows you see the back of the karamon and to get closer to the honden, but the hall itself remains closed. There is an extra admission fee to enter the peony garden; the shrines closes at 4:30 pm or 5:30 pm. The peony garden is open from January 1st to mid-February, from mid-April to mid-May. Ueno Tōshō-gū is located inside of Ueno Park; as such, access is easy from the many exits to the park at Ueno Station. Ueno Tōshō-gū Official website
The karamon or karakado is a type of gate seen in Japanese architecture. It is characterized by the usage of karahafu, an undulating bargeboard peculiar to Japan. Karamon are used at the entrances of Japanese castles, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, have been a symbol of authority. Although kara can be translated as meaning "China" or "Tang", this type of roof with undulating bargeboards first appeared during the late Heian period, it was named thus because the word kara could mean "noble" or "elegant", was added to names of objects considered grand or intricate regardless of origin. The karahafu developed during the Heian period and is shown in picture scrolls to decorate gates and palanquins; the oldest existing karahafu is found at Hōryū-ji temple. The karahafu was used only in temples and aristocratic gateways, but starting from the beginning of the Azuchi–Momoyama period, it became an important architectural element in the construction of a daimyō's mansions and castles; the karamon entrance was reserved for the shōgun during his onari visits to the retainer, or for the reception of the emperor at shogunate establishments.
A structure associated with these social connections imparted special meaning. Karamon would become a means to proclaim the prestige of a building and functioned as a symbol of both religious and secular architecture. In the Tokugawa shogunate, the karamon gates were a powerful symbol of authority reflected in architecture. Mukaikaramon is the most common form of karamon, features two karahafu at the front and back of the gate; this type of gate may incorporate a karahafu in the middle of the roof, or the entire gable itself may be a curved structure. Hirakaramon are distinguished with two karahafu on the left and right sides of the gate; this type of gate was used at palaces, was once called miyukimon. Karayotsuashimon is an ornate style of karamon that features four undulating gables on all sides of the gate. A good example of this type of gate can be found at Nikkō Tōshō-gū. Karahafu Japanese architecture Japanese Buddhist architecture Japanese castle Buddhist temples in Japan Shinto shrine List of National Treasures of Japan
Japanese names in modern times consist of a family name, followed by a given name. More than one given name is not used. Japanese names are written in kanji, which are characters Chinese in origin but Japanese in pronunciation; the kanji for a name may have a variety of possible Japanese pronunciations, hence parents might use hiragana or katakana when giving a birth name to their newborn child. Names written in hiragana or katakana are phonetic renderings, so lack the visual meaning of names expressed in the logographic kanji. Japanese family names are varied: according to estimates, there are over 100,000 different surnames in use today in Japan; the three most common family names in Japan are Satō, Takahashi. This diversity is in stark contrast to the situation in other nations of the East Asian cultural sphere, which reflects a different history: while Chinese surnames have been in use for millennia and were reflective of an entire clan or adopted from nobles and were thence transferred to Korea and Vietnam via noble names, the vast majority of modern Japanese family names date only to the 19th century, following the Meiji restoration, were chosen at will.
The recent introduction of surnames has two additional effects: Japanese names became widespread when the country had a large population instead of dating to ancient times, since little time has passed, Japanese names have not experienced as significant a surname extinction as has occurred in the much longer history in China. Surnames occur with varying frequency in different regions. Many Japanese family names derive from features of the rural landscape. While family names follow consistent rules, given names are much more diverse in pronunciation and character usage. While many common names can be spelled or pronounced, many parents choose names with unusual characters or pronunciations, such names cannot in general be spelled or pronounced unless both the spelling and pronunciation are given. Unusual pronunciations have become common, with this trend having increased since the 1990s. For example, the popular masculine name 大翔 is traditionally pronounced "Hiroto", but in recent years alternative pronunciations "Haruto", "Yamato", "Taiga", "Sora", "Taito", "Daito", "Masato" have all entered use.
Male names end in -rō -ta or -o, or contain ichi, kazu, ji, or dai. Female names end in -ko or -mi. Other popular endings for female names include -ka and -na; the majority of Japanese people have one surname and one given name with no other names, except for the Japanese imperial family, whose members bear no surname. The family name – myōji, uji or sei – precedes the given name, called the "name" – or "lower name"; the given name may be referred to as the "lower name" because, in vertically written Japanese, the given name appears under the family name. People with mixed Japanese and foreign parentage may have middle names. Myōji, uji and sei had different meanings. Sei was the patrilineal surname, why up until now it has only been granted by the emperor as a title of male rank; the lower form of the name sei being tei, a common name in Japanese men, although there was a male ancestor in ancient Japan from whom the name'Sei' came. There were few sei, most of the medieval noble clans trace their lineage either directly to these sei or to the courtiers of these sei.
Uji was another name used to designate patrilineal descent, but merged with myōji around the same time. Myōji was what a family chooses to call itself, as opposed to the sei granted by the emperor. While it was passed on patrilineally in male ancestors including in male ancestors called haku, one had a certain degree of freedom in changing one's myōji. See Kabane. Multiple Japanese characters have the same pronunciations, so several Japanese names have multiple meanings. A particular kanji itself can have multiple meanings and pronunciations. In some names, Japanese characters phonetically "spell" a name and have no intended meaning behind them. Many Japanese personal names use puns. Few names can serve either as surnames or as given names. Therefore, to those familiar with Japanese names, which name is the surname and, the given name is apparent, no matter which order the names are presented in; this thus makes it unlikely that the two names will be confused, for example, when writing in English while using the family name-given name naming order.
However, due to the variety of pronuncia
Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, ink painting and calligraphy on silk and paper, ukiyo-e paintings and woodblock prints, ceramics and more manga, modern Japanese cartoons and comics along with a myriad of other types. It has a long history, ranging from the beginnings of human habitation in Japan, sometime in the 10th millennium BC, to the present-day country. Japan has been subject to sudden invasions of new ideas followed by long periods of minimal contact with the outside world. Over time the Japanese developed the ability to absorb and assimilate those elements of foreign culture that complemented their aesthetic preferences; the earliest complex art in Japan was produced in the 7th and 8th centuries in connection with Buddhism. In the 9th century, as the Japanese began to turn away from China and develop indigenous forms of expression, the secular arts became important. After the Ōnin War, Japan entered a period of political and economic disruption that lasted for over a century.
In the state that emerged under the leadership of the Tokugawa shogunate, organized religion played a much less important role in people's lives, the arts that survived were secular. Painting is the preferred artistic expression in Japan, practiced by amateurs and professionals alike; until modern times, the Japanese wrote with a brush rather than a pen, their familiarity with brush techniques has made them sensitive to the values and aesthetics of painting. With the rise of popular culture in the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints became a major form and its techniques were fine tuned to produce colorful prints; the Japanese, in this period, found sculpture a much less sympathetic medium for artistic expression. Japanese ceramics are among the finest in the world and include the earliest known artifacts of their culture. In architecture, Japanese preferences for natural materials and an interaction of interior and exterior space are expressed; the first settlers of Japan, the Jōmon people, named for the cord markings that decorated the surfaces of their clay vessels, were nomadic hunter-gatherers who practiced organized farming and built cities with populations of hundreds if not thousands.
They built simple houses of wood and thatch set into shallow earthen pits to provide warmth from the soil. They crafted lavishly decorated pottery storage vessels, clay figurines called dogū, crystal jewels. During the Early Jōmon Period, villages started to be discovered and ordinary everyday objects were found such as ceramic ports purposed for boiling water; the pots that were found during this time had flat bottoms and had elaborate designs made out of materials such as bamboo. In addition, another important find was the early Jōmon figurines which might have been used as fertility objects due to the breasts and swelling hips that they exhibited; the Middle Jōmon Period, contrasted from the Early Jōmon Period in many ways. These people began to settle in villages, they created tools that were able to process the food that they gathered and hunted which made living easier for them. Through the numerous aesthetically pleasing ceramics that were found during this time period, it is evident that these people had a stable economy and more leisure time to establish beautiful pieces.
In addition, the people of the Middle Jōmon period differed from their preceding ancestors because they developed vessels according to their function, for example, they produced pots in order to store items. The decorations on these vessels started to become more realistic looking as opposed to the early Jōmon ceramics. Overall, the production of works not only increased during this period, but these individuals made them more decorative and naturalistic. During the Late and Final Jōmon period, the weather started to get colder, therefore forcing them to move away from the mountains; the main food source during this time was fish, which made them improve their fishing supplies and tools. This advancement was a important achievement during this time. In addition, the numbers of vessels increased which could conclude that each house had their own figurine displayed in them. Although various vessels were found during the Late and Final Jōmon Period, these pieces were found damaged which might indicate that they used them for rituals.
In addition, figurines were found and were characterized by their fleshy bodies and goggle like eyes. The next wave of immigrants was the Yayoi people, named for the district in Tokyo where remnants of their settlements first were found; these people, arriving in Japan about 300 BC, brought their knowledge of wetland rice cultivation, the manufacture of copper weapons and bronze bells, wheel-thrown, kiln-fired ceramics. The third stage in Japanese prehistory, the Kofun period, represents a modification of Yayoi culture, attributable either to internal development or external force; the period is named for the large number of kofun megalithic tombs created during this period. In this period, diverse groups of people coalesced into a nation. Typical artifacts are bronze mirrors, symbols of political alliances, clay sculptures called haniwa which were erected outside tombs. During the Asuka and Nara periods, so named because the seat of Japanese government was located in the Asuka Valley from 542 to 645 and in the city of Nara until 7
Utagawa Kuniyoshi was one of the last great masters of the Japanese ukiyo-e style of woodblock prints and painting. He was a member of the Utagawa school; the range of Kuniyoshi's subjects included many genres: landscapes, beautiful women, Kabuki actors and mythical animals. He is known for depictions of the battles of legendary samurai heroes, his artwork incorporated aspects of Western representation in landscape caricature. Kuniyoshi was born on January 1, 1798, the son of a silk-dyer, Yanagiya Kichiyemon named Yoshisaburō, he assisted his father's business as a pattern designer, some have suggested that this experience influenced his rich use of color and textile patterns in prints. It is said that Kuniyoshi was impressed, at an early age of seven or eight, by ukiyo-e warrior prints, by pictures of artisans and commoners, it is possible these influenced his own prints. Yoshisaburō proved his drawing talents at age 12 attracting the attention of the famous ukiyo-e print master Utagawa Toyokuni.
He was admitted to Toyokuni's studio in 1811, became one of his chief pupils. He remained an apprentice until 1814, at which time he was given the name "Kuniyoshi" and set out as an independent artist. During this year he produced his first published work, the illustrations for the kusazōshi gōkan Gobuji Chūshingura, a parody of the original Chūshingura story. Between 1815 and 1817 he created a number of book illustrations for yomihon, kokkeibon, gōkan and hanashibon, printed his stand-alone full color prints of "kabuki" actors and warriors. Despite his promising debut, the young Kuniyoshi failed to produce many works between 1818 and 1827 due to a lack of commissions from publishers, the competition of other artists within the Utagawa school. However, during this time he did produce pictures of beautiful women and experimented with large textile patterns and light-and-shadow effects found in Western art, although his attempts showed more imitation than real understanding of these principles.
His economic situation turned desperate at one point. A chance encounter with his prosperous fellow pupil Kunisada, to whom he felt that he was superior in artistic talent, led him to redouble his efforts. During the 1820s, Kuniyoshi produced a number of heroic triptychs that show the first signs of an individual style. In 1827 he received his first major commission for the series, One hundred and eight heroes of the popular Suikoden all told, based on the popular Chinese tale, the Shuihu Zhuan. In this series Kuniyoshi illustrated individual heroes on single-sheets, drawing tattoos on his heroes, a novelty which soon influenced Edo fashion; the Suikoden series became popular in Edo, the demand for Kuniyoshi’s warrior prints increased, gaining him entrance into the major ukiyo-e and literary circles. He continued to produce warrior prints, drawing much of his subjects from war tales such as Tale of the Heike and The rise and fall of the Minamoto and the Taira, his warrior prints were unique in that they depicted legendary popular figures with an added stress on dreams, ghostly apparitions and superhuman feats.
This subject matter is instilled in his works The ghost of Taira no Tomomori at Daimotsu bay and the 1839 triptych The Gōjō bridge, where he manages to invoke an effective sense of action intensity in his depiction of the combat between Yoshitsune and Benkei. These new thematic styles satisfied the public’s interest in the ghastly and bizarre, growing during the time; the Tenpō Reforms of 1841–1843 aimed to alleviate economic crisis by controlling public displays of luxury and wealth, the illustration of courtesans and actors in ukiyō-e was banned at that time. This may have had some influence on Kuniyoshi's production of caricature prints or comic pictures, which were used to disguise actual actors and courtesans. Many of these symbolically and humorously criticized the shogunate and became popular among the politically dissatisfied public. Timothy Clark, curator of Japanese art at the British Museum, asserts that the repressive conventions of the day produced unintended consequences; the government-created limitations became a kind of artistic challenge which encouraged Kuniyoshi’s creative resourcefulness by forcing him to find ways to veil criticism of the shogunate allegorically.
During the decade leading up to the reforms, Kuniyoshi produced landscape prints, which were outside the bounds of censorship and catered to the rising popularity of personal travel in late Edo Japan. Notable among these were Famous products of the provinces —where he incorporated Western shading and perspective and pigments—and Famous views of the Eastern capital in the early 1830s, influenced by Hokusai's early-1830s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Kuniyoshi produced during this time works of purely natural subject matter, notably of animals and fish that mimicked traditional Japanese and Chinese painting. In the late 1840s, Kuniyoshi began again to illustrate actor prints, this time evading censorship through childish, cartoon-like portraits of famous kabuki actors, the most notable being