fuushiga 風刺画
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. satirical pictures. Paintings and prints satirizing current events, world affairs, government, and politics. The pictures might contain an instructional element or use allegory to convey hidden meanings. Often the artist asserts his/her own viewpoint by caricaturing the subject of the picture. Fuushiga were produced as a separate genre, but many religious and historical paintings also served the purpose of satire. There has been a long history of caricature sketches *giga 戯画, which are satirical or joking in nature as an undercurrent in Japanese art. Contained within the *Shousouin 正倉院 repository in Nara (built in 756) is an unfinished scroll with the figure of a man with bulging eyes and raised shoulders. Just above him is written the word daidairon 大大論 (the great dispute), and it is thought to be the representation of a supervisor who is berating the copiers of sutras for their slow work. Satirical elements also appear in illustrated handscrolls *emaki 絵巻, during the Heian and Kamakura periods. The 12c scrolls of the Frolicking Animals and People Choujuu jinbutsu giga 鳥獣人物戯画 in Kouzanji 高山寺, Kyoto, are well-known for playful parodies of human actions, where frogs, rabbits and other animals play the part of humans. The term *oko-e 鳴呼絵, (funny, foolish or nonsensical pictures) is mentioned in the early 12c KONJAKU MONOGATARI 今昔物語 (Tale of Times Now Past) and the amusing elements *okashi おかし, are found in handscrolls such as Shigisan engi emaki 信貴山縁起絵巻. Even the didactic religious scrolls known as the *rokudou-e 六道絵 (Painting of the Six Realms) contained some spirit of humor in the scenes of the torture of the dead. This undercurrent of satirical humor continued into the Muromachi period and appeared in likeness pictures *nise-e 似絵, as well as in the literary genre of *otogi zoushi 御伽草子, or shorter prose narratives, which were often illustrated. In the Momoyama and Edo periods, many artists of different schools made use of satire in their work, often of a light-hearted nature. Even the traditional *yamato-e やまと絵 and Buddhist themes were parodied. Elegant Heian court poets in *kasen-e 歌仙絵 (pictures of immortal poets) were changed into familiar fellows who are laughing with their mouths wide open. Painters of this type including Iwasa Matabee 岩佐又兵衛 (1578-1650; eg. *Hitomarozou 人麿像, Idemitsu 出光 Museum of Art, Tokyo) and Ogata Kourin 尾形光琳 (1658-1716; eg. Sanjuurokkasen byoubu 三十六歌仙屏風). All the Buddhist saints gathering at Buddha's nirvana, nehan 涅槃, became vegetables in the Yasai Nehan-zu 野菜涅槃図, by Itou Jakuchuu 伊藤若沖 (1716-1800) in Kyoto National Museum. There were also humorous sketches of daily life *toba-e 鳥羽絵; pictures of haiku 俳句 poems *haiga 俳画, by Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 (1716-83) and Matsumura Goshun 松村呉春 (1752-1811); and dynamic ink paintings on Zen themes *zenga 禅画, by Hakuin 白隠 (1685-1768) and Sengai 仙崖 (1750-1837). In *ukiyo-e 浮世絵, fuushiga were produced as a genre, purposely criticizing the misgovernment of the Tokugawa 徳川 shogunate. Examples satirizing Kansei 寛政 Reforms (1787-93) can be seen in contemporary *sharebon 洒落本 and yellow-cover magazines *kibyoushi 黄表紙, and during the Tenpou 天保 Reforms (1841-43) in the work of Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1797-1861). There were proscriptions against producing works which spoke too directly about contemporary events or people, particularly anything concerning the government, and punishment for those who did. Fuushiga, therefore, were deliberately designed so that they were not easily understood and were called *satori-e さとり絵 or enlightenment pictures. Well-known artists and writers who were punished include: Kitagawa Utamaro 喜多川歌麿 (1753-1806), Santou Kyouden 山東京伝 (1761-1816),and Kawanabe Gyousai 河鍋暁斎 (1831-89). Current events and foreign affairs were often satirized during the Meiji Reforms (1867-68) particulary because of the publication of newspapers for the first time. Extremely popular were the collaboratory works between the writer Kanagaki Robun 仮名書魯文 (1829-94) and the painter Kyousai, such as the Aguranabe 安愚楽鍋 (1871-72). This work is thought to have been a parody of the advocacy of the superiority of western civilization by such men as Fukuzawa Yukichi 福沢諭吉 (1835-1901). Kyousai also produced fuushiga on his own which poked light-hearted and insightful fun at current situations and social or political changes during the westernization era of bunmei kaika 文明開化(civilization and enlightenment). Both Kyousai and the English artist Charles Wirgman (1832-91) are thought to have influenced Kobayashi Kiyochika 小林清親 (1847-1915), an artist known for his landscapes, but who also produced a number of fuushiga. Biting satire from the pen of Georges F. Bigot (1860-1927) also influenced Japanese artists of this era. The magazine MARUMARU CHINBUN 団々珍聞, founded in 1877, was based on British PUNCH and specialized in satirizing current events. Honda Kinkichirou 本多錦吉郎 (1850-1921) and other artists of the period sometimes ran foul of the authorities in the process and were subjected to censorship and punishment. Later artists include Nagahara Koutarou 長原孝太郎 (1864-1930), who produced the cartoons known as *manga 漫画, and Kitazawa Rakuten北沢楽天(1876-1955), who launched the manga magazine TOKYO PAKKU 東京パック in 1905.


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