Fujita Tsuguharu and Innovation in Japan

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Fujita Tsuguharu was a pivotal character in the promotion and innovation of Japan as a country. As a diverse and popular individual in Paris, he gained fame and wealth while he developed his painterly style in the 1920s. He sought to reinvent and the “European nude” to sate the hunger of both the narcissistic European cultures and to uplift the Japanese style of painting. This was to evolve Japan’s culture and help to attain a national identity. The Second World War, however, brought about a change that attributed to a diversion in Fujita’s style in paintings. A transformation into a dark, graphic, realism was the focus, yet there was always that lingering attempt to solidify Japan’s identity. It is certainly reflective of the sacrifice of one for the benefit of the whole. A Japanese painter, Tsuguharu was born the year 1866 in Tokyo, Japan under his birth name Fujita. In his adolescence, he familiarized himself with French oil painting techniques and applied them to Japanese stylized artworks. Tsuguharu graduated from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music; following his graduation, Tsuguharu travelled to Paris where he furthered his familiarity with Western art and art forerunners such as, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Amedeo Modigliani (citation). Although he mostly lived in France, Tsuguharu would make periodic trips to Japan; in the closing days before World War II he returned to Japan. As if inevitably, Tsuguharu left Japan in 1949 and went back to France, settling a year later and officially becoming a French citizen in 1955. Upon becoming a French citizen and converting to the Roman Catholicism, he was christened with the name Leonard in 1966. During Tsuguharu’s initial visit to Paris, he developed his version of the... ... middle of paper ... ... to reinforce the typical emotions the Japanese felt during war. This painting allows empathy to be achieved. As unsure as the viewer is while looking at this painting, it appears as though the Japanese would have felt the same during World War II and all the events surrounding it. Fujita Tsuguharu’s contribution to the innovation of Japanese culture and identity was definitely successful in its attempt. The celebrated Euro-Japanese nude styles allowed for Japan and Tsuguharu to become a pillar in the artistic world. Tsuguharu in the future expressed a more violent nationalism in his later works painted the country in its true nature; one of sacrifice and hardship, continually pushing for greatness and honour – the sacrifice of few for the whole. He was truly a diverse character who contributed whole hearted for the identity and construction of his country, Japan.

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