Art Since 1867
In the years after 1867, when Emperor Meiji ascended the throne, Japan
was once again invaded by new and alien forms of culture.
The first response of the Japanese was open-hearted acceptance, and
in 1876 the Technological Art School was opened, employing Italian instructors
to teach Western methods. The second response was a pendulum swing in the
opposite direction spearheaded by Okakura Kakuzo and the American Ernest
Fenollosa, who encouraged Japanese artists to retain traditional themes
and techniques while creating works more in keeping with contemporary taste.
Out of these two poles of artistic theory developed Yoga (Western-style
painting) and Nihonga (Japanese painting), categories that remain valid
to the present day.
The need to rebuild Japan after World War II proved a great stimulus to Japanese architects, and contemporary Japanese buildings rank with the finest in the world in terms of technology and formal conception. The best-known Japanese architect is Kenzo Tange, whose National Gymnasiums (1964) for the Tokyo Olympics emphasizing the contrast and blending of pillars and walls, and with sweeping roofs reminiscent of the tomo-e (an ancient whorl-shaped heraldic symbol) are dramatic statements of form and movement.