Tokyo book publisher PIE International has produced an art book showing what hell looks like – through the eyes of Japanese artists from the 12th to 19th century.
The book – Hell in Japanese Art – is a deluxe, full-colour, 592-page hardback, largely focussed on works designated as Japanese National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties as well as the various depictions of hell by prominent artists such as Kazunobu Kano, Nichosai, Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka and Kyosai Kawanabe.
This volume also features the 19th century woodblock-printed edition of Ojoyoshu (The Essentials of Rebirth in the Pure Land) and is accompanied by modern English/ Japanese bilingual text. Essays from historians of both Japanese art and Buddhism are also included in bilingual text.
Hiromoto Miyoshi, president of PIE International, says one of PIE’s missions is to introduce Japan’s high-quality art to the world.
“Through the power of graphic design, this book has brought traditional Japanese culture back to life as a fresh art collection for today’s readers. It is difficult for people outside Japan to see artworks depicting the Japanese conception of hell.
“Readers will no doubt be impressed by these finely rendered yet elaborate depictions of hell, even hundreds of years after the works were created,”he said.
“Although these images of brutal scenes are all fictional, some of them will surely remind us of what is actually occurring in reality today. I believe that appreciating hell in Japanese art will give us an opportunity to reflect on our world today.”
The techniques and styles in these works are diverse, and readers will find even humorous characters, which have led to the style of characterization that appears in Japanese manga and anime today. This title is a must-see for artists, illustrators and anyone interested in Japanese art, along with Japanese manga and anime fans, too.
The book can be purchased online for GBP43.00, Euro 59.95 or US$75.