Hidenori Mitsue: The Eternal Ambiguity of Japan

Mentor: John Heymans

External reviewer: Avigail Moss

Enschede, 2009


This thesis is about the investigation of particular character and the structure of Japanese contemporary art, illustrated from a cultural perspective. It focuses on two Japanese contemporary artists Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami. I attempt to understand how their work is related to Japanese culture, traditions and customs, and how they established their work. The main question that interests me is how Japanese contemporary art established    unique characteristics within such a short period of time.
Japanese culture and traditions were not particularly interesting for me while I was still living in Japan because it was too ordinary for me. However, since I have been living in the Netherlands Japanese culture and traditions are no longer so familiar. I now have a lot of questions about the character of Japanese contemporary art that I am driven to explore further. I search for the interest and the doubt of the tradition, the culture, and Japanese contemporary art that is represented in images to people in the West. I want to elucidate the question of Japanese tradition and pop culture and an image of the contemporary art that Western people see from a Japanese viewpoint . And finally, I aim to clarify Japanese culture and the feature of Japanese contemporary art from the unique perspective of a Japanese artist who lives in the West.