About Us

Hello Everybody!!
We are Anindya & Pratyay, Japanese Language teachers and translators. Presently we are teaching at a Japanese Language Learning Centre in our hometown, Kolkata-India.

The most interesting part of language learning is experiencing another culture. For, Language does not exist apart from culture, that is, the socially inherited assemblage of practices and beliefs that determines the texture of our life. The study of Japanese language offers unique insights into Japan’s fascinating national culture, which boasts a rich heritage in the fields of native craftsmanship, performance art, visual art, music, film and graphic design. Anyone who can see and feel the beauty of the Japanese Language and culture can improve her/his cultural understanding and international awareness. It also helps one to gain an enhanced perspective of one’s own language and culture.

Through this Blog we would like to offer and share our knowledge and exchange our views & ideas with you all on Japanese language and culture. Let’s expand our possibilities both professionally and personally by learning Japanese.

If you have any query regarding translation or interpretation from Japanese to English or vice versa,
please feel free to contact us.....
letter2anindya@gmail.com or pratyajayaditya@gmail.com

Friday, October 7, 2016

Sugimoto Tetsurou

Sugimoto Tetsurou


 Nihonga painter Sugimoto Tetsurou was born in Ôtsu city, Shiga prefecture on 25th May, 1899. He had his first lessons of painting from local painter Yamada Suikoku. He joined the private art school, “SanaeKai” in 1913, established by Yamamoto Shunkyo and also entered Kyoto Municipal Arts and Crafts School in the same year. Later in 1914 he enrolled into Kyoto Municipal Painting School and graduated from there in 1920.


Sugimoto's painting "Oumi Fuji" was accepted for the first time for 4th Teiten Exhibition (the Imperial Academy's art exhibition) in 1922. Thereafter, he set his mind to study ancient oriental art and traveled to Korea, Manchu, China in 1923. Later in 1935, he started learning Buddhist art under Takakusu Junjirou and Matsumoto Bunzaburo.


He was selected by the Department of cultural affairs, Ministry of foreign affairs for copying Ajanta cave frescoes and went to India in 1937. Next year went to Ceylon to make copy of the rock frescos of Sigiriya. In 1940, He went to Mongolia as a researcher of historic remains of Manchuria and copied the frescoes of the Qianling Mausoleum located at the foot of Erling Mountain.

In 1943, Sugimoto traveled to India, Khmer (Cambodia), Thailand, Sumatra, Java etc. as part of an inquiry committee set up by Higashi Honganji temple to make a survey on southern Buddhist art. He came to India in 1951 again and served as a visiting professor at Santiniketan University.


He completed the mural " Mumyo to Jakuko [Ignorance and Wisdom]" of Higashi Honganji Tsumura Betsuin Temple in 1969. After that he was requested by the Messiaen Center of Fukuoka city to do frescoes on unity of all the religions and embarked on creating "Sekai Judai Shukyu [Ten great religions of the world]". He made a start with paintings on Buddhism. Then in 1971, he started traveling around various places ranging from Nepal, Iran, Turkey, Israel etc., studied Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam etc. and collected materials on these religions. He continued the work for 12 years. In 1978 he completed the leading piece of the series, "Kamigami no Seki Himalaya [ The mountains of the Gods]".


Meanwhile in 1976, he received the International Order of Cultural Merit from Brazil and in 1984., was chosen as a outstanding citizen of Kyoto for his distinguished services in the field of culture.

His publications include "Sugimoto Tetsuro: paintings and treatise" (1934, Tokyo Atelier Co.), "My childhood days" (1963, Kyoto Shirakawa publishing house), "The scenaries of the Mind", (1969, Hatsune publishing Co.).


Sugimoto died of acute respiratory failure on 20th March, at 8:14 in the morning, at Otowa hospital in Yamashina district, Kyoto. He was 85.


Source: “Nihon Bijutsu Nenkan” 1986 issue
Photos: Mukul Dey Archives, http://nakaoshoten.asablo.jp/blog/, https://www.pinterest.com/

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Nihonga Painter: Katayama Nanpu


The doyen of the Japanese art world and member of the Japan Academy of Arts, Katayama Nanpu was born at Kumamoto city on 12nd September in 1887. He was the third son of Takejirou (father) and Shige (mother). His real name was Kumaji.

Nanpu lost his parents very early and brought up by his grandfather. He started studying painting under local artist Fukushima Houn. In 1909, he came up to Tokyo and became the pupil of Takahashi Kouko.

In the next year, his picture scroll “Kaze No Ourai”, exhibited in the Katsumigakai Exhibition, got the certificate of merit. However Nanpu failed to receive any recognition in the Bunten exhibition (the annual art exhibition sponsored by the Ministry of Education) for four consecutive years. But, his “Shimotsumi Koro” exhibited in the 7th Bunten in 1913 brought a complete change in the approach for historical painting that was followed till then. Nanpu’s work demonstrated his approach towards the sensuous painting which greatly valued the colourful technique promoted by Shiko and others. The painting was strongly recommended by Taikan and got the second prize.


However due to the conflict of opinions, Taikan resigned as a jury of Bunten and re-established Nihon Bijutsuin [Japan Art Institute]. Nanpu also went ahead and joined the institute again. He looked up to Taikan as his mentor. However, after entering the Bijutsuin, Nanpu got into a slump and went under the shadow of Kobayashi Kokei, Maeda Seison and Yasuda Yukihiko. He returned to the basics of painting from nature and gradually found a way out in the genre of flowers and birds. 

Katayam left Japan on 25th November, 1916 along with Arai Kampo on his tour to Kolkata to break through the stagnation and his depressive of mood to painting. He visited various places in and around the city in this appx. two months period. Apart from drawing landscapes and portrates, he also made sketches of Buddhist images and statues in the museum. Travelled to Buddha Gaya, Delhi on February, 1917 and made a trip to highland Simla, Darjeeling. He made sketches of Himalayan mountain range and the areas around it. He went back to Japan in April. Katayam visited Bombay on his way back home and profoundly impressed by the Buddhist sculpture of Elephanta Caves. He spent 15 days there for sketching. The eight panel folding screen “An evening in the tropical country”, reflecting his impression of India was submitted in the 4th Inten (the Japan Art Institute Exhibition) in September. But the vivid colors of red and green used in the painting brought him severe criticism and it was told that "Nanpu has bacome colour blind".


Nanpu’s work substantially gained fullness since the success of his "Momo to Zakuro [ Peach and Pomegranate]" in the 9th Bunten. He became a member in 1924. Thereafter " Gyorakuzu [Playful Fish] Series " (1926), "夏題十趣" (1927), " Shoukachou [Tempering The Summer Heat] Series” (1929), "Isuichou Rensaku/ Shasuichou Rensaku" (1934) etc. came out and a relaxed, unassuming of mood to painting " Chisoku Anbun " evolved.


After the war, Nihon Bijutsuin also agreed to the request of participation in the Nitten Exhibition [the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition] in 1945. Nanpu served as a jury from 1946 onward and became the secretary in 1955.
Post war, Nanpu's work were characterized by portrait painting. It was started with the exhibition of “Portrait of Master O” at the 39th Japan Art Institute Exhibition (Inten) in 1954. Thereafter continued with “Mushano Koji Sensei” (1955), “Yokoyama Taikan Sensei” (1957), “Shizuko Fujin” (1960), “K Sensei [painter Kanayama Heizo]” (1964), “Shinryou No Kyaku” (1969) etc, Nanpu painted his work in bright colors and serene, unsophisticated style.


Later, he was engaged in restoring the ceiling paintings "Naki Ryu [Roaring Dragon]” (painted by Kanou Yasunobu and lost in a fire in 1936) of Honjido hall of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, for 3 years starting from 1964.


He went to Tahiti at the age of 88 in 1975, for a sketching trip. His colouring became still more vivid and he never lost his youthfulness till his last moment.

He became a member of the (Japan) Academy of Arts in 1958; received the honour for his distinguished services in the field of culture in 1963 and the Order of Culture Award in 1963. He was also honoured as a illustrious citizen of Kumamoto city.


Katayama got bad cold on 24th due to the failure of heating system caused by the power supply breakdown. However, he kept on painting till he was confined to bed. Finally he passed away of pneumonia on 30th December at 3:39 PM at his residence in Shizuoka prefecture in 1980.

PHOTO SOURCE: http://kijyaku.blog95.fc2.com/blog-date-200704.html, Rabindra Okakura Bhavan, Kolkata, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo