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Okakura, Tenshin

    Full Name: Okakura, Tenshin

    Other Names:

    • Tenshin Kakuz Okakura

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1863

    Date Died: 1913

    Place Born: Yokohama, Fukui, Japan

    Place Died: Niigata Prefecture, Japan

    Home Country/ies: Japan

    Subject Area(s): Asian, Japanese (culture or style), Japanese painting styles, Nihonga, and painting (visual works)

    Career(s): curators


    Museum curator and historian of Japanese painting. After graduating from Tokyo Imperial University in 1880, Okakura became a member of the Ministry of Education. His interests later turned to art education, allowing him to travel to Europe and America to do research on art education methods. Upon his return to Japan, Okakura was appointed head of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. His leadership encouraged artists to develop a new style of painting that combined the conventional style of the Japanese painting technique Nihonga with Western realism. After resigning from the School of Fine Arts in 1898, Okakura created the Japan Art Institute. His interest in Western painting, and his knowledge of Japanese painting styles led Okakura to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where he served as both an advisor and as the head of the East Asian department.

    Selected Bibliography

    The Ideals of the East: with Special Reference to the Art of Japan. London: J. Murray, 1920; The Awakening of Japan. New York: Special ed. for Japan Society, Inc., 1921.


    The Dictionary of Art

    Contributors: LaNitra Michele Walker


    LaNitra Michele Walker. "Okakura, Tenshin." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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