KAZAN-A Superb Imagination at Work

Saturday, September 22-Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mondays (except September 24, October 8 and November 5) as well as Tuesday, September 25 and Tuesday, October 9.
[Opening Hours]
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
*Fridays: Until 8:00 p.m.
*Last admission 30 minutes before closing time
[Admission Fee]
Adults (at the door): 1,100 yen,
high school and university students (at the door): 900 yen
Adults (advance ticket): 900 yen,
high school and university students (advance ticket): 700 yen
*Junior high school students and younger: Free.
*For groups of 20 or more, admission fees are 800 yen for adults and 600 yen for high school and university students.
*Persons with a disability certificate or similar receive a 100 yen discount on tickets purchased at the door, and one accompanying helper is admitted free.

[Ticket Sales]
Tokyo Station Gallery (Up until 30 minutes before the gallery closes)
Lawson Ticket (L-Code 33196), E Plus, CN Playguide and Seven Ticket
*Advance tickets are on sale from July 14 to September 21, 2018
*Advance tickets are on sale at the Tokyo Station Gallery reception desk until September 9, on days when the gallery is open.

[Discount for Repeat Visitors]
Present your stub of an at-the-door ticket or advance-purchase ticket to this exhibition at reception and you can enter again for the group rate. Reception staff will keep your stub. Please note that this discount cannot be used with other discounts.
[Organized by]
Tokyo Station Gallery (East Japan Railway Culture Foundation), Nikkei Inc.
[With assistance from]
[Co-sponsored by]
Nozaki Insatsu Shigyo Co., Ltd.

Flyer PDF

Based in Kyoto, Yokoyama Kazan (1781/4-1837) was a popular painter at the turn of the 19th century. He admired Soga Shôhaku greatly and studied under Ganku, then later expanded his painting range after being inspired by Goshun. As a result, Kazan was proficient in a wide range of painting styles, and he garnered popularity with his free use of painting styles, confined neither to a particular style nor to the trends of the time. He became famous throughout Japan, greatly influenced other painters and eventually took on pupils of his own.
Kazan had a broad subject, adopting the style he felt was best for each of his works. This is the first retrospective exhibition to trace the path of Kazan's diverse career. The exhibition will feature Gion Festival Handscrolls, one of Kazan's most famous works which shows the full extent of his skill as a painter. Kazan's unmistakable style comes through in the fine detail with which he captures the floats in the parade such as yamahoko (a float with a decorative halberd) and mikoshi (a portable shrine), the composition that makes the viewer feel as if they are there themselves, and the richness with which he has drawn even the people at the storefront. Kazan was apparently known for a while after his death, with his name appearing in lists of famous artists and even referenced in the novel Botchan by Natsume Sôseki. His works were also renowned among overseas art historians and collectors such as Earnest Fenollosa. Many of his best works entered the collections of the museums in Europe and the United States, but these days Kazan is known only among avid art lovers. Some of his works have been returned home from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the British Museum for this exhibition. With a total of around 100 pieces, including works by Soga Shôhaku and Kazan's own pupils, the exhibition shows a full view of Kazan's career.

Structure of Exhibition

Learning from Shôhaku – Kazan's Starting Point
People Humorously Depicted
Birds and Flowers – A Marvelous Animal Land
Genre Scenes – Shared Human Emotions
Pictures of the Gion Festival – The Gion Festival Handscrolls
Landscapes – Journey with Kazan to Famous Places

Highlight of Exhibition

1: Genius begets genius!

Look at the two different The Daoist Immortal Liu Haichan by Shôhaku and Kazan and see if you can tell which is Shôhaku's without looking at signatures or seals. Despite Kazan's young age, his skill was already comparable with Shôhaku's. Precious masterpieces from the two highly talented painters vie for attention in the exhibition hall.

2: Masterpieces come home from overseas

Masterpieces by Kazan were sent overseas in the late 19th century, and today 13 works are in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and 6 are in the British Museum. This is the result of renown among overseas art historians such as Fenollosa and Bigelow. Five works have been returned home from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and three have been sent from the British Museum. Seven out of the eight have never been exhibited in Japan before.

3: The modernity of Kazan's free style

While contemporary schools respect the traditions and formats, Kazan's work had an appealingly free style. In Shirakawa River in Yamashiro, for example, the viewer's eye is drawn to a large tree painted boldly in the center of the painting. Treasure Ship (Takarabune), a painting with an unusual composition depicting the front view of the ship, is a precious work painted just two months before Kazan died. Mt. Fuji is painted in a style that could be mistaken for a 19th or even 20th-century artist's, while features in Chinese Children, such as the shadows on the children's faces, are reminiscent of Western modern art.

4: Kazan's detailed dipiction in genre scenes show his true value

Gion Festival Handscrolls provides a full view of the festival held in the late Edo period. Measuring a gigantic 30 meters long, this vast, elaborately painted scroll can be considered a culmination of Kazan's talent. The upper scroll depicts the eve of the festival with the yoiyama (a small festival held on the day before) and procession of yamahoko (a float with a decorative halberd), while the lower scroll depicts the festival held on the day after, a practice that was reintroduced for the first time in 50 years in 2014, along with the gion nerimono, in which geisha would march alongside the mikoshi (portable shrines). The practice of gion nerimono is no longer performed today, and this picture scroll may be the only historical resource that depicts it in detail. While there are many other pictures of the yamahoko procession, a highlight of Gion Festival, this is the only work with such an accurate, detailed depiction of the whole event, the decorations of the halberds, the goshintai (an object of worship believed to contain the spirit of a deity) and even the people pulling the floats in the festival. Takayama, one of the yamahoko, has been absent since 1826, but there are now discussions about restoring it based on this scroll, cementing its value in depicting the history of Gion Festival.

5: Precious items being exhibited for the first time

This exhibition will be the first showing of precious items including Letters Addressed to the Yokoyama Family, which show the close relationship between Shôhaku and the Yokoyama family, and Gion Festival Carts (Preparatory Drawings for the Gion Festival Handscrolls), which recent research has revealed as a rough sketch for the upper scroll of Gion Festival Handscrolls. Also being exhibited for the first time is Letter Addressed to Saitô Gesshin. When writing Tôto Saijiki (Record of Annual Events in the Eastern Capital), Saitô Gesshin asked Kazan to edit his illustrations of annual events such as mochitsuki (the pounding of rice to make mochi (rice cakes)). This letter is Kazan's reply, making it an essential historical resource illustrating Japanese culture in the 18th and 19th century.