Tama Art University

Three Policies
Department of Painting, Japanese Painting Course

Purposes and Educational Goals (Diploma Policy)

Having developed over the course of the country’s long history, Japanese painting involves a wide range of materials and techniques, and it requires a great deal of time and perseverance simply to learn the basics. Reaching far beyond mere tradition, it has great potential for opening up new horizons in art, meaning that after gaining a command of materials and techniques, there is still much further honing of skills and expressive ability to be done. The Japanese Painting Course aims to foster richly imaginative artists with strong will to create independently, without being unduly swayed by current trends.

Influenced by the country’s rich natural environment and varied seasonal climate, artists of the past have developed Japanese painting that reflects a unique aesthetic sensibility. To understand this cultural background, it is important to carefully observe subjects and carry out dialogues that express ideas in one’s own words. While emphasizing day-to-day drawing exercises that develop a keen contemporary visual sense, this course also addresses history and aims to cultivate the imagination and expressive power needed to travel freely between past and present. At the same time, a basic principle of this course is that students should acquire the requisite thinking ability to grasp the whole from a broad perspective.

To develop artists who can achieve the educational and research goals of the Faculty of Art and Design, the Japanese Painting Course begins with the basics of traditional materials for Japanese painting, which, in general, are scarcely addressed in art education up to high school. In addition, to enable students to tackle assignments with independence and critical ability without being constrained by traditional precedents, they are encouraged to engage in diverse expression, strongly conceiving their own ideas and fully implementing them. Students who have achieved this goal receive bachelor’s (BFA) degrees.

Curriculum Policy

The Japanese Painting Course systematically organizes and implements a curriculum based on the following policies so that students can achieve the goals indicated in the Diploma Policy.

In introductory classes, students build their abilities to look at things and scrupulously observe them. They make a large number of drawings, and adopt the proper basic stance toward the long road of learning ahead.

In the introductory first and second year courses, students handle traditional materials such as mineral pigments, whitewash, glue, and washi paper, gaining a grasp of the basics of Japanese painting. Assignments include rendering plants, animals, landscapes, and people, while training powers of observation, depiction, expression, and composition. Students also learn advanced techniques from instructors specializing in reproduction of existing works, picture mounting, metallic leaf application, paint handling, and brush handling to deepen their understanding of Japanese painting materials and traditional culture.

In the specialized courses in the third and fourth years, during the third year each student is engaged in one-on-one dialogue that values their individuality and encouraged to produce work autonomously with a view to becoming an independent artist in the future. Students share information and ideas about the process of creation through completion of a work and the difficulties that accompany it, and discuss the significance of painting. During the fourth year, with their graduation projects in mind, students further pursue their own original approaches. The basic principle is to take sufficient time to engage with students, and all teachers are in charge of supervising graduation projects.

Competitive review sessions, held twice a year for all years, also offer important opportunities to consider the fundamental basis of creation.

To evaluate the results of study, rigorous grading is carried out based on criteria specified in advance. These results are then utilized for further improvement of educational methods.

Admissions Policy

Based on the academic contents of the Diploma Policy and Curriculum Policy, the Department of Painting, Japanese Painting Course seeks people who feel joy in painting and are willing to put forth every effort to do so, setting their own goals and intrepidly taking on challenges. We aim to actively recruit proactive people who aim not to imitate others, but to create their own original worlds.

Japanese painting entails learning many things at the beginning. It is vital to take time to learn the basics and tackle assignments seriously in order to make sure one has the observational ability to look at things carefully and depict them with both accuracy and rich expressiveness. Many Japanese painting techniques and styles have been developed through careful observation of nature. Even in today’s urbanizing world, people feel the need for a sense of active engagement with nature. Specialized and academic examinations are administered not simply to screen for admission, but also to comprehensively evaluate the observational and thinking skills required to see things in detail, basic learning motivation, and future potential.

While we are immersed in ever-increasing amounts of data, many people feel unable to attain emotional fulfillment. The traditions of Japanese painting, which have endured for centuries and have been handed down intact to the present day, are imbued with the great wisdom of our forebears, which remain relevant to the issues we face today. Now more than ever, the time is ripe to re-examine East Asian aesthetics, admired the world over, and to study them in this course.