Ikuo Hirayama, a great Japanese-style painter passed away

By TERRY - Last updated: 金曜日, 12月 4, 2009 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Ikuo Hirayama (2009.12.3) On this Dec.2  Ikuo Hirayama,  the first heavyweight of Japanese-style Painting passed away from brain infarction at the age of 79. http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20091202p2a00m0na021000c.html

I was so shocked at this news, for both Mr.Hirayama and I have been members of the same society of preservation of cultural propertiesin Kamakura, an old historicalcity in Kanto area (the eastern area including Tokyo) Japan.  Actually, the society “Kamakura Dohjinkai”(鎌倉同人会 )  was founded about 95 years ago in Meiji Era by a well-known diplomat Hirokichi Mutsu, whose father Munemitsu Mutsu had been one of the most famous Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, and some of his friends including my great grandfather. Andof the founders was Seiki Kuroda, a well-known oil painter who was a relative of my great grandparents’.

Hirokichi Mutsu was also the first president of Dohjinkai and the first chairperson of Kamakura Jogakkou (鎌倉女学校, 鎌倉女学院 /Kamakura female school)as well.  He got married to an English woman and she wrote the very  first guidebook of  Kamakura areain English in history.  My great grandfather who was a diplomat lived in Kamakura as well and became the second president of Dohjinkai.

Though I have never met Mr. Hirayama, his huge feats to  Dohjinkai were known to us the members. He was our supreme advisor.  Mr. Hirayama was originally from Hiroshima, one of the two cities attacked by the atomic bombs in WW2.  Such his background may be a cause of  his having made remarkable accomplishments as an activist of antiwar activities and spreading peace all over the world, let alone an artist.  His works are worldwide famous especially those related to themes based on the area of Silk Road and Buddhism. Ikuo Hirayama and his work of silhroad(2009.12.3) As a peacenik, he  served as  UNESCO  goodwill ambassador in 1989 and strived for protecting cultural assets all over the world, and received the Order of Culture in 1998.  He was an educator and researcher  as well ,and served as president of  Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music(now; Tokyo University of the Arts) and chairperson of Japan Art Academy, and so forth.

In Onomichi City in Hiroshima, Mr.Hirayama’s home area, there is “Ikuo HIrayama Museum of Art ” http://www.city.onomichi.hiroshima.jp/english/kanko/data_setoda/p_ikuo.html

Although Mr. Hirayama  naturally loved the art and  cultural properties worldwide regardless of  countries or regions, as he lived in Kamakura, which is home to many historical cultural properties, such as Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples and images , and documents, I think his affection for that area and  its assets might be the strongest.   Just about one week ago,  as a guide-interpreter I showed my customers around Kamakura and dropped in a small art gallery along Komachi Dori Street, the most popular shopping street  there. At that art gallery there were a lot of  paintings of famous artists including  Mr. Hirayama’s.  And my customers at that time were professional caricaturists, they seemed to take interest in those art works.  This memory is so vivid for it is very new and recent, the untimely passing of Mr. Hirayama  shocked me a lot in addition to my relationship with him through Dohjinkai activities.

I believe his art style of  painting and activities  have connected the world of  traditional Japanese art modes and the world of current global trends of  art as well as  making contributions to spreading peace, realizing  protections of  cultural assets all over the earth.

Though he passed away, his concepts and accomplishments are too great to be forgotten, so, they will stand the test of time and  be passed down to next generations .    May his soul rest in eternal peace…

Posted in Old and New Cultural Scenes in Japan • • Top Of Page
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