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Accepted Paper:

Illustrations in Kyōkai shogaku tokuhon, published by Japan's Orthodox Church  

Author:

kayoko yamasaki (Filoloski fakultet u Beogradu)

Paper short abstract:

This report will focus on the Kyōkai shogaku tokuhon (1903), published by a member of the Orthodox Church in Japan. Through clarifying sources of illustrations by foreign artists, this report will analyze how foreign culture was understood through images, which were likely drawn by Japanese.

Paper long abstract:

The teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church (Orthodox Church) came into Japan in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Nikolai Kasatkin (1836-1912)—the first Orthodox archbishop of Japan who originally came from Russia as a missionary—studied Japan's language, classics, history, Buddhism, and Shinto and decided on a policy of spreading the Orthodox faith based in the environment and culture of the country. Around 1876, he also established theological seminaries for men and women, marking the full-fledged start of Orthodox Church-sponsored education in Japan. In addition to his translation of the New Testament, prayer books, and hymns, Archbishop Nikolai also devoted himself to publication activities, which are essential to missionary work.

This report considers the topic of illustrations, focusing on the Kyōkai shogaku tokuhon [published in 1903; six volumes in total], edited by Mizushima Kōyō—an active publication department member of the Orthodox Church in Japan. Intended to communicate Christian teachings to children, the books feature many illustrations and are valuable sources for showing what images were used to convey the content of the Bible and Christian doctrine.

The illustrations consist of the following types:

a. Works of Western Christian (Western Church) artists such as Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872), as well as Eastern Orthodox Church artists including Viktor Vaznetsov (1848-1926), Vasily Kriukov (1805-1880), and Yamashita Rin (1857-1939), who were influenced by Western Church artwork.

b. Illustrations of how to conduct prayers featuring families and children within the context of life in Japan of the time, as well as illustrations reminiscent of Nihonga painting that depict scenes of ancient life in Japan.

The report focuses on the following points:

1. Clarifying sources of original illustrations by foreign artists (a) on which copies were based, and, in turn, examining the merging of Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian art formats seen between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

2. Analyzing how foreign culture was understood and conveyed through illustrations of the Kyōkai shogaku tokuhon (b), which were likely drawn by Japanese artists.

Panel LitPre01
Illustration as the Intersection of Culture and Information