TAASA Review Issues

December 2001

Vol: 10 Issue: 4
Japan
Editors: Sandra Forbes & Ann MacArthur

Cover Photo
Takashi Shimura as the samurai leader in the film The Seven Samurai (1954) directed by Akira Kurosawa. Freda Freiberg’s ‘The Other Akira: Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998)’, an appreciation of the late Japanese director’s work and its influence in the West, appears on pp.4-5 of this issue of TAASA Review, which focuses on the arts of Japan.

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Editorial

Sandra Forbes

TAASA was formed to promote ‘knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment’ of the arts of Asia and their impact on the development of the arts of other cultures, including Australia. The Association has among its aims the encouragement of ‘involvement in broad issues of cultural history and interdisciplinary inquiry linking the arts with other aspects of history, society and daily life’. We can only hope that in these very difficult times, organisations such as TAASA can continue to play some small role in achieving those aims in their broadest sense.

This issue of TAASA Review focuses on Japanese art, and was co-edited with Ann MacArthur, Vice-President of TAASA, whose special interest is the arts of Japan. No one issue could do justice to Japanese art in all its forms, but we range widely here – from 17th century Imperial architecture to film, from ceramics to contemporary installation art. In ‘Shifting Perspectives’ (pages 10-12 of this issue), Japanese-Australian artist Chaco Kato says: ‘I see that cultural misunderstanding is inescapable. What I aim to do through my art on the theme of migration is not to arouse “exotic curiosity” towards the other but to address the interconnection of human society.’ TAASA couldn’t have put it better.

TAASA Review last published an issue focussing on the arts of Japan in June 1998, to coincide with the exhibition Modem Boy, Modern Girl: Modernity in Japanese Art. Since then, over 400,000 people will have enjoyed another fresh look at the relationship between Japan and the West through attending the Monet and Japan exhibition at its two venues in Canberra and Perth this year. Also during this year, the Art Gallery of New South Wales showed Heroes and Villains, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Neo Tokyo. The ‘waves of influence’ between Japan and the West, referred to by Gary Hickey in his article on Monet and Japan (TAASA Review Vol.10 No.1), flow on and on.

Cinema is another artistic field where Japan has been influential on the West, and one outstanding master was the late Akira Kurosawa, whose work is discussed by Freda Freiberg in the current issue. However, according to eminent Japanese film critic Tadeo Sato, whose ‘The Current State of Japanese Cinema’ we are privileged to publish here, the ‘Golden Age’ of Japanese cinema is now over: good Japanese films struggle for audiences in Japan, and American films dominate the market – a situation not exactly unfamiliar to us here in Australia.  Movement back and forth across cultures is also eloquently demonstrated in Robert Bell’s report on the exhibition Japan and Australia: a ceramic dialogue held at the National Gallery in Canberra earlier this year, which documents the inspiration that Japanese ceramic traditions have provided for Australian potters over the past 40 years.

The cover of the previous Review on Japan appears second in a great line-up of all 15 covers of TAASA Review published in colour since 1998 (page 22). These are reproduced to mark TAASA’s 10th anniversary this year; also as part of this celebration, Joyce Burnard has interviewed the four people now popularly known as the ‘yurt-hatchers’, the original founders of TAASA (pages 16-17).

Notable in the spread on page 22 is the cover of the issue of December 1999 on ‘Buddhism in Australia’, which sought to examine how Buddhism is becoming integrated into Australian society and culture. On 10 November this year after many years of planning (and in particular due to the work of TAASA’s immediate Past President, Jackie Menzies), the magnificent exhibition Buddha: Radiant Awakening opened at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In conjunction with that opening, TAASA co-organised one of its most important events, a three-day symposium held 9-11 November. Judith Rutherford, TAASA’s current President and also Chair of our NSW Events Committee, worked tirelessly to ensure that this very large undertaking was such a success.

Now for a farewell. One constant over the 10 years of TAASA’s existence has been the work of Vicky McGuiness, the designer of TAASA Review. Vicky has worked on every issue since the first (January 1992), and has therefore designed 39 issues over 10 years (we worked out that that’s about a third of her lifetime!) – but she has decided not to turn 40. We will miss Vicky, and wish her and her family all the best for the future. We are sure that her colleague Ingo Voss will continue her excellent work – and he ably demonstrates that he will, with this current issue.

Table of contents

EDITORIAL – Sandra Forbes

THE OTHER AKIRA: AKIRA KUROSAWA – Freda Freiberg

THE PRESENT STATE OF JAPANESE CINEMA – Tadeo Sato

MODEL OF MAGNIFICENCE: THE TAITOKUIN REDISCOVERED – William H. Coaldrake

10  SHIFTING PERSPECTIVES: DEPARTING FROM JAPANESE – Cultural Stereotypes in Australia

14  IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN: EXPRESSIVE INFLUENCES – Robert Bell

16  HATCHED IN A YURT: THE BIRTH OF TAASA – Joyce Burnard

18  NAKAJIMA’S ANTIQUES – Adrian Snodgrass

19  IYOMANTE: AN AINU SPIRIT-SENDING CEREMONY – Rosemary Kang

20  IDENTITIES: DICK RICHARDS

22  TAASA REVIEW – A CELEBRATION

23  MEMBERS’ DIARY

24  REVIEWS AND PREVIEWS 

REVIEW: BOOK • BURMESE SPLENDOURS – Jackie Menzies
Burma’s Lost Kingdoms: the Splendours of Arakan

REVIEW: EXHIBITION • PLACE AND BELONGING – Anuvendra Jegadeva
Eric Quah: Seeking the Roots

WHAT’S ON
A SELECTIVE ROUND-UP OF FORTHCOMING EXHIBITIONS IN AUSTRALIA AND OVERSEAS

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