Ryūkōsai Jokei reasoned about, catalogued

Andrew Gerstle is the co-author, along with Yano Akiko, of a catalogue raisonné of the works of Ryūkōsai Jokei 流光斎如圭, either a or the founder of the Kamigata school of actor ukiyo-e (started about a century later than in Edo, and featured different actors in different kinds of roles). Since that catalogue was only available in a limited not-for-sale edition, he has very thoughtfully put the work up on the SOAS website for download in PDF format: Ryûkôsai Catalogue: The Dawn of
Osaka Actor Likeness Prints
(Ryûkôsai zuroku:Kamigata yakusha nigao-e no reimei, 流光斎図録:上方役者似顔絵の黎明). The prints start at about page 50. Enjoy!

His matchless discernment: Tomioka Tessai

Nice article [PDF] full of old-fashioned talking-in-paragraphs about Japanese painter Tomioka Tessai by “Bishop Kojo Sakamoto, Abbot of Kiyoshi Kojin Seicho Temple” (which today styles itself Kiyoshikôjin Seichô-ji Temple). I guess the exhibition it refers to was held in the 50s or 60s.

Once he said, “People are always coming to me boasting of their calligraphy. All of them write very well, but none so well as I do. If only Kobo Daishi were still alive, the two of us would have a real ‘meeting of minds’ about calligraphy!” I was struck with admiration for his matchless discernment.

I honestly don’t think it takes a whole lot of discernment to identify Kūkai as one of Japanese calligraphy’s all-time greats. It’s like saying “Now Michelangelo, there’s a guy who was on my level.” You really have to be Tessai to get away with it. (Katō Shūichi said that B. C. Binning put Tessai on the level of about Cézanne, as I recall.)