Sunday, August 9, 2009

the rainy days of kawase hasui

it's raining here and the weather which has been fairly cool is going to become
incredibly hot and humid for the next little while.
conditions that make for a good chance of thunderstorms.

so it's fitting that i am posting a follow up to a piece i shared with you
a little while ago in which i featured a work by the japanese woodblock artist kawase hasui.

there's lots and lots more to this man's work.

but i especially love the way he brings so much of the feeling of rain into his art.
as amelia says, it "fills you inside".
so today i've gathered together several of my favourite rainy day works by kawase.

i would so love to be inside these paintings.
the smell of wood,
the pattering of rain on the rooftops,
the tapping of the rain on the varnished rice paper umbrella,
the rain-smeared glow of window-lights across the puddles in the walkways.

rainy season at ryoshimachi, shinagawa, tokyo

cloudy day at mizuki in ibarigi

sanshu in yokohama

omori beach at night

rainy night at maekawa

rain at shinobazu pond

rain at okutama river
rain fills me inside.
oh yes it does!

to see a really beautiful page that gives not only more of hasui's work but a really
nice overview of his life go here.

if you are anything like me, then you simply can't
get enough and so you need to know that there's more here.


Delwyn said...

Hello Steven

Oh you are a wonder - to put such treasures together for us. I love Hasui's ukiyo-e and this rainy selection is wonderful.

I have been to Shinagawa many times - the trains have a juncture there and also been to Yokohama. My daughter lived with a family at Yokosuka beside Yokohama. Yokosuka has the large US base...

The first time we visited I booked the New Yokosuka Hotel thinking we couldn't go wrong...It turned out to be full of servicemen who couldn't fit on the base and appeared to be in the red light corner of the town...

The room was about 8' by 10' and the bathroom like an aeroplane toilet. The bed only accessible one side...I am used to small Japanese rooms but it was really cramped...
The lobby was virtually impenetrable... with smoke and drinking men...

We chose somewhere else to stay the next time...

Thanks for this super collection of Hasui's work

Happy days

Jinksy said...

Thank you for the tour round this art gallery of rain. They are lovely, but my favourite is far and away rainy night at maekawa - it is so elegant.

alaine@éclectique said...

They're really beautiful, Steven. Thankyou; I was unaware of this artist. I will check out the links.

Crafty Green Poet said...

beautiful rainy pictures, lovely, even though I've seen more than enough rain this summer already!

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...


Thank you for your exposition of these examples of hasui's work. Just amazing. Impossible not to place yourself in the painting and have your senses awakened to the reality portrayed.

Excuse me, while I "go here" and then visit "more here".

Have a great Sunday.

ellen abbott said...

These are wonderful Steven. I think I said before how much I love the art of the Japanese print. In fact I have a book with that title. There is only one of Hasui's print in the book though...Snow at Makaijima.

steven said...

hello delwyn - this was such a pleasure to assemble, i'm very happy that you enjoyed some more of his work. your story made me laugh in an understanding kind of way. the space between what you anticipated and what you got was so vast!!! i often wonder if the disconnect between something like these beautiful prints and the reality of japan now causes many a mind to flutter uncontrollably. thanks for your comments delwyn. have a lovely day by the river. steven

steven said...

hi jinksy, as i look at this set this morning i would say that the print of maekewa has the greatest emotional and sensory resonance for me. i love walks in the rain in the early evening when the lights are coming on and this holds all the feelings i feel at that time. thanks for visiting. have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hello alaine, thanks for coming by! i'm glad that you enjoyed this amazing artwork. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hello craft green poet, i'm with you on the lots of rain front. it's rained a whole lot here as well but i love rain as much as the sun so i'm making the most of it. my family is pretty much fed up with it so i have to keep my thoughts down to a low ebb. have a sunny day!!! steven

steven said...

hi ellen, i hadn't really appreciated japanese art until i started writing this blog. i knew about it but it was two years ago that i really started to look at it and appreciate it for more than a touchpoint for technique. i'm glad that we share this appreciation in common!!! have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hi bonnie, thanks for visiting!!! i knew that you'd be able to get inside these paintings. being open to such beauty is one of the great blessings of our time here isn't it. what's amazing and overwhelming is that there is so much beauty in so many different forms. have a lovely day. steven

Golden West said...

Lovely wood cuts - I love the colors and simplicity - stunning.

steven said...

hello golden west!!!! i'm so glad you could visit and enjoy these gorgeous works of art. you're right in pairing the words simplicity and stunning. that's what they are!!! have a peaceful day. steven

Anonymous said...

Hi Steven,

You know I lived there for almost three years and in the beginning I was so lonesome I thought about getting married. The Army made it hard so I never did do that but I did get around and I also loved some things in Japan a lot more than others. I did also take a lot of photos and those are in the Sendai Museum of History and Folklore.

But, some things just stun me into speechlessness. I am totally immobilized. My eyes seem to fail me in deciphering the place or thing. That is exactly the way I felt when I clicked on your "go here" link ( ) I saved it for later.

The rain is one thing. It makes streets muddy or did then as they were not yet paved.

What was paved caught fire and burned up when the B-17s and B-29s fire bombed the cities during the war years. The rain also washed things clean. The statues. The lanterns. The thatched roof. The bamboo fences shined like they were made of glass--rain did that.

Anyway, I could get carried away. Thanks so much for that link. I am in high Heaven at that.

Thank you very much for visiting my Pick a Peck of Pixels blog and for the comment you left me there.
Pick a Peck of Pixels
Brookville Daily Photo

steven said...

morning abe! i love your visits here! your memories open out my postings even wider. the rain is coming down hard even as i write and the idea of muddy streets, homes made entirely of natural materials, the rain washing things clean is entirely present in my mind. thanks very much for your wonderful stories abe. have a lovely day!!! steven

Unknown said...

I am connecting the feeling of French Impressionist art to these examples of Japanese woodblock art by Kawase Hasui. The obvious contrasts between french art and these japanese examples are many; media used, colours used, style. But the overwhelming feeling of sadness and despair being washed away by the rain, reminds me of those rain filled Paris street scenes that everyone had in their living rooms in the 70's. The sounds, the smells, the light reflections are all encased in these woodblock prints as you pointed out. That Hasui was able to accomplish these feelings without the expressive brushwork, the flagrant colours or the use of Mediterranean Light, speaks volumes. The prints are rhythmically musical and very expressive. Thank you for posting them. Continue to enjoy the rain today.

Kay said...

These prints remind me of the film Memories of a Geisha....must be the rain..I'm not a fan of 'wet' films..I had to turn off Angelas Ashes when they threw the mattress out in the rain to get rid of the fleas!!!! would they get it dry??? and then let children sleep on it!!...however thats got nothing to do with your lovely post just got me thinking!!Kay

steven said...

hello linda - there is a real connection isn't there! i remember my mum and dad had one of those very same rain-filled paris street scenes and your comment makes me think about why? the feelings you describe in some respects mirror those they were feeling at that time.
for me i feel calmness and a deep sense of being human, immersed in lovely sensory information when i view these prints and the rainy impressionist scenes. the rain has stopped here for now. the sun is out and the expectation is that the humidex will make it feel somewhere in the low fourties - celsius that is!!! have a lovely day and thanks for your thoughtful comment. steven

steven said...

hello kay. i read the book and haven't seent he movie. i loved the book - i couldn't put it down. i have wondered if the film could capture all of the detail but then that's unfair to put that much expectation on a medium like film isn't it! i also enjoyed reading angela's ashes. it had so many parallels in my own experience and certainly in the experiences of people we knew that it didn't shock me as much as help me realize that that was the way it was. i think your associative thoughts have lots to do with the post kay and i'm so glad you left them here!! have a peaceful afternoon. steven

Elizabeth said...

Wet, wet, wet indeed
Yes, what a master of wetness.
(I'm English so I should know.)
Do you know the Victorian painter
Atkinson Grimshaw who did super wet night scenes?

Eryl said...

Not only does he perfectly capture rain he makes it seem desirable, I didn't know that was possible. Like Jinksy I like Rainy Night at Maekawa best, it just looks so wet! now I'm going to check out the links you gave, thanks Steven.

steven said...

hello elizabeth - i too am english - transplanted to canada in the mid sixties, back every year until i started teaching in 1991! i still call it "home".
yes, i know of atkinson grimshaw . . . this link
should hook you up with my love affair with his work also!!! his evening work by moonlight and his rainy works are brilliant. lovely to see you. steven

steven said...

hello eryl, oh now come on. you know rain is very romantic and sensory/sensual. it's not just about getting soaked!!!! well some of the time it is!!! i'm glad you visited. have a peaceful evening. steven

Barry said...

I'm so glad I came to visit today Steven. Kawase Hasui woodblocks have certainly filled me inside. They are stunningly evocative and a perfect way to spend a rainy day.

steven said...

hey barry i'm glad you dropped in! we just finished with the big rain and thunderstorms that passed over your place a couple of hours ago. i love the rain and there are ways - like looking at this man's fine artwork - that make it a more tolerable even happy-making experience. i'm glad that you really "got" what i see in his work. they are evocative. have a peaceful evening. steven

Seth said...

Such a wonderful selection of woodblocks! Thanks for the visual fix. And I love the concept of being inside these paintings. Thanks too for your comments on my blog! They are very much appreciated!

Tess Kincaid said...

I almost paired one of these lovely Hasui prints with my Obon poem. That kiss was in a wonderful setting just like this. You must have read my mind, Steven!

I have one of those great varnished rice paper umbrellas, too, by the way.