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Summer typhoons, Hara Museum, Daimonya Daruma

Posted on August 16 2021

Summer comes with typhoon seasons from storms that tend to form over the Pacific Ocean and move towards the coast of Asia.

Some of us like them because of the big surf waves just before the typhoon hits head on. This is usually accompanied by police trying to get everyone out of the water, but for the most part, we only go out with locals who know the water and when it’s time to go home. Many pro-surfers come to Japan in summer to follow the waves when there is a big typhoon. For the most part, everyone stays inside and waits for it to pass.

In history, these storms protected Japan from multiple invaders. In Japanese the kamikaze (Japanese: 神風) literally "divine wind" were two winds or storms that are said to have saved Japan from two Mongol fleets under Kublai Khan. These fleets attacked Japan in 1274 and again in 1281. Due to the growth of Zen Buddhism among Samurai at the time, these were the first events where the typhoons were described as "divine wind" as much by their timing as by their force.

Although the name was used towards the end of WW2 for the one way missions of the pilots. This is because the tradition of death instead of defeat, capture and shame was deeply entrenched in Japanese military culture; one of the primary values in the samurai life and the Bushido code was loyalty and honor until death. However, it is important to remember that the name’s origin is from Typhoon’s and Divine Wind. The word originated from Makurakotoba of waka poetry modifying "Ise" and has been used since August 1281 to refer to the major typhoons that dispersed Mongol-Koryo fleets who invaded Japan under Kublai Khan in 1274.

However, during this last weeks typhoon tragedy struck Naoshima, the famous ‘Art Island’, and Yayoi Kusama’s Pumkin was tragically blown into the ocean. In previous years the statue has always been removed before a typhoon, there is an internal inquiry for the reason it wasn’t removed on this occasion. Benesse House, looks after the Pumpkin and has fished it out and promised to repair and restore it.

Hara Museum Gunma:

The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo’s Shinagawa ward closed in January 2021. It was uniquely housed in a Western-style building that was originally built as a residence in 1938. This was followed in April 2021 with the relaunching in Shibukawa, Gunma of a single consolidated venue named Hara Museum ARC, after the French word for “rainbow” and the name of the foundation that operates it.

Born in Tokyo in 1935, Toshio Hara studied at Gakushuin University majoring in political economics and later at Princeton University. In 1977, he established the Foundation Arc-en-Ciel for which he continues to serve as chairman. Over the years, he has served in various capacities, such as vice-president of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and emeritus trustee of the Honolulu Museum of Art. His many awards include the French Medal of the Legion of Honor which was bestowed upon him in 2017.

The museum was designed by Arata Isozaki. Isozaki stands out as one of Japan’s foremost architects and a designer of many museums in Japan and abroad and the winner of the Pritzker Prize, commonly known as the “Nobel Prize for architecture.”

A symmetrical arrangement was used in the positioning of the three contemporary art galleries, with the square-shaped Gallery A flanked on both sides by the oblong Galleries B and C, their distinctive pyramid-shaped roofs topped by skylights that bathe the interior with a gentle, natural light.

The Kaikan Pavilion, on the other hand, is a quiet space that adopts the traditional shoin (drawing room) style of Japanese architecture. A high level of craftsmanship is evident in the details, from the wood work to the use of black mortar, granite and washi paper in the finishing.

Located at various locations on the museum grounds are permanent outdoor installations by artists such as Andy Warhol, Olafur Eliasson and Jean-Michel Othoniel. In addition, much of the energy used by the museum comes from solar power generation, out of consideration for the environment.

Jean-Michel Othoniel: “Kokoro” (the Japanese word for Heart):

Andy Warhol Campbell's Tomato Soup:

Olafur Eliasson: “Sunspace for Shibukawa”:

Olafur Eliasson: “Sunspace for Shibukawa” : “An observatory in which the relative path of the sun moving across the sky can be charted over the duration of a year. An artwork to experience the space neither as something static nor a mere container of action and time, but as something dynamic which consists of time whose configuration depends on its function, on the activity of its users.”

Approximately every two weeks, a perfectly round rainbow is projected onto the convex surface directly opposite the prism though wich the light passes. In winter, rainbows are visible in the early morning, with autumn and spring affording views later in the day. During the summer solstice, round rainbows appear during the day’s last hours of sunlight. The gradual temporal shifts in the occurrence of the rainbows subtly merge celestial movements with the experience of space and light.

 

The Hara museum’s The Kankai Pavilion is especially stunning. It was built in 2008 as part of an expansion of Hara Museum ARC that took place to mark the 20th anniversary of its founding in 1988. The Pavilion’s aim was to augment the ARC’s original purpose as a museum of contemporary art by providing a unique showcase for the Hara Rokuro Collection of traditional East Asian art. By incorporating features of the Japanese shoin (drawing room), it offers the viewer a new spatial experience that lies at the intersection between the traditional and the modern.

This collection was amassed before WWII by the Meiji-era industrialist Rokuro Hara who sought to protect Japan’s cultural properties and prevent their outflow to foreign lands. It focuses mainly on early-modern Japanese painting, but also includes calligraphy and handicrafts, as well as Chinese art. This invaluable collection includes a number of Japanese government-designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. 

Maruyama Okyo’s “Landscape of Yodo River” is particularly beautiful. A hand painted silk scroll that is 1.690 x 42 cm long, dated 1765 depicts the Yodo river as it flows from Fushimi in Kyoto to Tenmabashi and Osaka Castle. It records in great detail along the way, the hustle and bustle on both banks – the townfolk. Fishermen, and other aspects of daily life – all from the moving point of view of a boat. The spatial expression and other aspects are unlike anything seen in the west, while the high realism based on Okyo‘s pioneering use of detailed sketches. Has the effect of drawing the viewer into the space itself. His ability to capture the color of the sky and river surface as it changes with the passage of time is a testament to his powers of observation and superb craftsmanship at a time when the visual experiences of the Japanese was being transformed by new ways of seeing. 

If you are ever in Japan, this piece is really worth visiting! You can view it from both sides and spend a long time enjoying the detailed work. After leaving you will want to see it again and again.

A Nexus of Rainbows is the first collection exhibition to be held at the newly consolidated Hara Museum ARC, currently showing.

Part I Spring-Summer:

Contemporary Art: Ai Weiwei, Karel Appel, Arman, Toshimitsu Imai, Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Erró, On Kawara, Tetsumi Kudo, Toko Shinoda, Ushio Shinohara, Jasper Johns, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Jean Dubuffet, Louise Nevelson, Nam Jun Paik, Lucio Fontana, Jackson Pollock, Christo, Tomio Miki, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Lambie, Lee Ufan, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Mark Rothko and others Traditional Art: Dragon and tiger, Kano Tan’yu, Landscape of Yodo River, Maruyama Okyo and others

Part II Autumn-Winter:

Contemporary Art: Nobuyoshi Araki, Masako Ando, Adriana Varejao, Francesca Woodman, Izumi Kato, Mika Kato, Anselm Kiefer, William Kentridge, Tokihiro Sato, Malick Sidibe, Jae-Eun Choi, Jason Teraoka, Mickalene Thomas, Mika Ninagawa, Christian Boltanski, Jonathan Borofsky, Kae Masuda, Miwa Yanagi, Yukinori Yanagi, Tomoko Yoneda, Tadanori Yokoo, Pipilotti Rist, Jean-Pierre Raynaud and others Traditional Art: Dragon among clouds, Kano school, Mountain landscape with waterfall, Kano school and others

 

We also visited Daimonya, our supplier for Daruma!

The Daruma doll is a centuries-old Japanese traditional wishing doll that helps people to achieve their dreams and goals. Millions of people in Japan regard it as a talisman of good luck and perseverance, making it a popular gift of encouragement.

Daimonya is located in the prefecture of Gunma, in the center of Takasaki city and is creating Daruma since 2 centuries. 200 long years of perfectionism in each doll, hand painting all details with a brush, using high quality pigments and gold leaves through traditional techniques learned from generation to generation. That is the number 1 task of Sumikazu Nakata, the owner of Daimonya and strong representative of Gunma area and its community of Daruma makers in which Gunma is its birthplace.

Although typically red, the Daruma doll comes in various colours and sizes. In general, this interpretation of colours has become the standard: 

Red: Luck & Good Fortune
Purple: Health & Longevity
Yellow & Green: Security & Protection
Gold: Wealth & Prosperity
White: Love & Harmony
Black: Protection against bad spirit and luck
Blue & Turquoise: Accomplishment at work & school
Pink: Love

This Is How It Works:

Decide on a specific goal you are determined to achieve.

Both eyes of the Daruma doll are blank. Draw one eye to signify your commitment to achieve your specific goal.

Place the Daruma doll somewhere visible in your home/office so you are constantly reminded to work on your goal while it also focuses on your goal.

Once you have achieved your goal, you can draw in the Daruma doll’s other eye to complete it and thank it for its good omen.

The doll is modeled after Bodhidarma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. The Daruma varies in design depending on region and artist, but the traditional Daruma doll represents the silhouette of Bodhidarma in deep meditation, sitting in the customary Zazen posture. This posture in Zen meditation clears the mind of distracting thoughts in an attempt to recognize the truth by mental concentration – a perfect condition to focus on one’s goals.

A Japanese proverb closely associated with Daruma is “Fall down seven times, get up eight” – emphasizing the importance of persistence when it comes to achieving one’s goals.

Count on the positive energy of Daruma and achieve your goals in a positive, motivational and fun way!

Click HERE to watch a video of Mr. Nakata.

And HERE to watch a video of him Painting “Samurai Blue” for World Cup Soccer!

Please visit Bows & Arrows to see our selection of Daruma from Daimonya in 2 sizes, or visit our online store HERE to order.