Biography of Tenshin Okakura

Biography of Tenshin Okakura (Kakuzo Okakura)

1863-Born in Yokohama

1869-About this time learned English

1875- Attend Tokyo Kaisei University (Later Tokyo University)

1879- Got married Oo-oka Moto (later Motoko)

1880- Graduated from Tokyo University, started working for Ministry of Education

1886- Made an official trip to Europe and U.S with Ernest Fenollosa

1889- Founded the first Japanese fine-arts academy, the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (Tōkyō Bijutsu Gakkō), and a year later became its head

1893- Paid the first visit to China for research on Asian arts

1898- Retired from head of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts(Tōkyō Bijutsu Gakkō), and founded the Japan Art Institute

1901- Visited India, made tour of remains of Buddhism

1902- Had first impact with Tagore, poet in India, who became close personal friends

1903- Published ’The Ideals of the East ’in London

              Bought a piece of land and his house in Izura (五浦)

1904- Was invited to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Asian art division

              Published ’The Awakening of Japan’ in New York

1905- newly built a cottage in Izura(五浦)’ and built Rokkaku-dou(六角堂), a small six-sided wooden pavilion

1906- The Japan Art Institute was moved to Izura, and then, his young pupils Taikan, Kanzan, Syunsou and Buzan moved there, too.

              Published ’The Book of Tea’ in New York

1907- Held a Moon viewing party in Izura, in August according to the lunar calender

1910 -Became the head of the Asian art division of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,

1912 – Visited India and met Priyamvada Devi Banergee, a woman poet

1913 – After authorized ‘The White Fox’ , got back to Japan because of illness

             Attend the meeting for preservation for old shrine & temple and made a proposal for preservation of Horyuji temple golden hall

Moved to Akakura in Niigata prefecture for medical treatment, but his condition got worse and died

1914 – The Japan Art Institute was reconstructed

Tenshin Okakura left the great achievement to the Japanese modern art. This is a story of Tenshin’s life and conflict and teacher-student love between Tenshin, who rediscovered art of Japan and tried to produce new beauty in Meiji period, and his young pupils, Taikan Yokoyama, Shunsou Hishida, Kanzan Shimomura, Buzan Kimura.

Unfortunately, on 3.11 2011, the cultural heritage ‘Rokkaku-dou’,in which Tenshin was absorbed in meditating, located in KItaibaraki city which is a main location site of this film, was washed away and disappeared under the sea by Tsunami caused by Great East Japan Earthquake.

In order to make this film a symbol of revival from Great East Japan Earthquake, the volunteers has set up ‘Film Tenshin Executive Committee’, and ‘Tenshin’ has been completed in response to their passion.

2013 is the 150th anniversary of Tenshin Okakura’s birth and the 100th anniversary after his death.

In the Film Tenshin, the beautiful nature of Japan which Tenshin had loved all his life was shot, and the movie Tenshin will bring cheer to Japan and all over the world.

 ■Plot Summary for Tenshin

In Showa Period 12 (in 1937), A journalist showed a venerable authority Taikan Yokoyama an old photograph.

In the photograph, there were figures of the young painters, Shunso Hishida, Kanzan Shimomura, and the Kimura Buzan.

“…. That was a time like a nightmare for me.”

The journalist was surprised at unexpected words from Taikan, and Taikan begins to recollect life of his teacher, Tenshin Okakura.

Young Tenshin who became aware of beauty of Japan by Fenollosa discovered Kanou Hougai forgotten by the world, he became head of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. But he was defeated in an administrative struggle with Western group, and a new technique of Taikan and others was not understood by the world. Tenshin and 4 pupils left Tokyo for Izura.

Through intense conflict they reached an extreme innovation of Japanese painting, and it was reputated from the world at last. But Shunso who strained himself died young. And Tenshin fell ill too, and passed away keeping love with a woman poet alternated in India in mind.

After finishing recollection, Taikan had a quiet expression.

The present Tokyo Art University, rebuilt Rokkaku-dou,which was washed away by Tsunami on 3.11 and the ideal and idea of Tenshin were taken over to us even now.