Postponed - Symposium: Japan in the Age of Modernization: The Art of Tomioka Tessai and Otagaki Rengetsu
Postponed - Symposium: Japan in the Age of Modernization: The Art of Tomioka Tessai and Otagaki Rengetsu
WhenFriday, March 27, 2020, 9 AM – 5:30 PM
CategoriesLectures & Discussions
SponsorAsian Art Museum
VenueFreer Gallery of Art
Event LocationFreer, Meyer Auditorium
CostFree registration required for this event.
Related ExhibitionMeeting Tessai: Modern Japanese Art from the Cowles Collection

This event has been postponed.

Japan entered an age of rapid modernization following the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry’s US navy ships on its shores in the 1850s. It soon became the first nation in Asia whose military and industry was on par with Western imperialist countries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

As the Japanese grappled with the massive effects of this rapid Western-inspired modernization, they searched for their cultural identity and increasingly turned to China for inspiration. The distinctively modern identity they built through the arts has only recently begun to be examined by researchers and through exhibitions.

This symposium gathers scholars from the United States, Japan, and Europe, who look beyond Japan’s Western industrialization to examine China’s role in forming the nation’s modern identity. It accompanies a major retrospective of the modern Japanese painter Tomioka Tessai (1836–1924) on view from March 28 to August 2, 2020, at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. A curator-led sneak preview of the exhibition concludes the symposium.

Free registration required for this event.



9–10 am

Coffee and Light Breakfast

Freer, conference room


10–10:30 am


Cheney Cowles

Dr. Frank Feltens, Freer and Sackler

Freer, Meyer Auditorium


10:30–11 am


Freer, Meyer Auditorium


10:30–11 am

Between Asia and the West: The Struggle for “Japan” in the Era of Modernization, 1860s–1910s

Professor Christopher Harding

University of Edinburgh


11–11:30 am

Tessai’s Private Space: Su Dongpo, Shitao, and Taiga in His New Chinese Collection

Professor Maromitsu Tsukamoto

University of Tokyo


11:30 am–12 pm

Antiquities, Modernity, and the World of Literati Art: Tomioka Tessai and the Kyoto Circle, 1895–1924

Dr. Tamaki Maeda

Independent scholar


12–12:30 pm

Discovering Tessai: Masamune Tokusaburō and Western-style (yōga) Japanese Painters

Dr. Michiyo Morioka

Independent scholar


12:30–2 pm

Lunch break


2–2:30 pm

Reinventing Oneself: The Artistic Career of Ōtagaki Rengetsu, 1791–1875

Professor Paul Berry

Formerly Kansai Gaidai University


2:30–3 pm

The Artifact of Literature:  Rengetsu’s Waka Poetics in Word, Image, and Object

Professor Melissa McCormick

Harvard University


3–3:30 pm

Along the Scholar’s Path: A Study of the Mounting Styles for the Works of Tomioka Tessai and Ōtagaki Rengetsu

Dr. Akiko Niwa

Freer and Sackler


4–5:30 pm

Tour of Meeting Tessai: Modern Japanese Art from the Cowles Collection

Dr. Frank Feltens

Sackler, level B1 lobby


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