Sumi-Fusion Keynote Addresses

The two fabulous Keynote addresses from the International Mokuhanga Conference 2021 in Nara, Japan, are now available for public viewing here. *

Henry D. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Japanese History, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University, New York, gave a fascinating presentation on the Victorian prejudices about the introduction of synthetic dyes into Ukiyo-e and Nishiki-e traditions during the Edo and Meiji eras. He traces the root of the misconception that synthetic dyes produce less nuanced prints as well as outlines the damaging effect this has had on the collecting of prints from these eras which cover fascinating developments in Japanese culture and printmaking. 

Takanari Matsui, advisor to the sumi production house Boku-Undo Co. Ltd, presented a beautifully made video on the production process of Sumi ink. It is well worth watching this fascinating process and will inspire a new reverence for sumi ink. Boku-Undo is a sumi production house in Nara that produces traditional sumi ink and a wide range of contemporary color products inspired by the ancient tradition of Japanese sumi painting. These products are made by skilled artisans in Japan and are continuously improved through research and innovation. His talk, in Japanese, will be available with subtitles within the coming months. 

*A note on the video link: the link is to a live broadcast so be sure to scroll through to the relevant speeches when viewing

Featured Image credit: ‘Fuji’, by Aleksander Wozniak (Poland), 2017

Written by Natasha Norman