Art@Site Fumio Asakura ?ta D?kan

Fumio Asakura


Ota Dokan

Tokyo International Forum
This statue of Ota Dokan, located in on the ground level floor of the Tokyo International Forum, actually dates back to the site's previous resident, the former City Hall of Tokyo City. Ota Dokan (1432-1486), also known as Ota Sukenaga or Ota Dokan Sukenag, was a Japanese samurai warrior-poet, military tactician and Buddhist monk, who served the Ogigayatsu branch of the Uesugi family. He is credited with building numerous castles in the Kant? area, including the castles of Kawagoe, Akatsuka most famously Edo Castle, now the Imperial Palace.
Tokyo Kokusai Foramu, or the Tokyo International Forum, was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and completed in 1996. The multi-purpose center features swooping curves of steel truss and glass, and an exterior shaped like an elongated boat. One of its halls seats 5,000. In addition to seven other halls, it includes exhibition space, a lobby, restaurants, shops, and other facilities.
Let us introduce a special statue of a warrior you can see standing aside of the building’s entrance. This is the statue of the former leader of Edo, what Tokyo was once called, named Ota Dokan. Five hundred years have already passed from the time he ruled and protected the city of Edo.
And one crucial detail – he is facing towards the Imperial Palace, where once stood proudly the Edo Castle. That is why it is said that he is still watching over the Imperial Palace, as well as the city of Tokyo.
Asakua Museum of Sculpture was once a studio and residence of Asakura Fumio (1883-1964), a leading sculptor of modern Japan. The building is now open to the public as a museum exhibiting the collection of Asakura's sculptures. Visitors can enjoy viewing the world of Asakura and four distinct seasons of Japan.
Asakura Fumio was born in Oita Prefecture in 1883, and moved to Tokyo to stay with his brother and a sculptor, Osao Watanabe, when he was 19 years old. In the following year, 1908, he entered Tokyo Art School (present-day Tokyo University of the Arts) and began studying sculpture.
His talent was soon recognized at a competition with his "Statue of Nire Kagenori", a bronze statue of Viscount Kagenori Nire, the admiral in the early Imperial Japanese Navy.
After the graduation in 1908, his work "Darkness", won the second prize at The 2th Bunten [Ministry of Education Fine Arts Exhibition] hosted by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, achieving public recognition. His masterpiece "Grave Keeper", which was exhibited at The 4th Bunten, was a major turning point of his sculpture.
He began pursuing the realistic style, focusing on modern modelling technique instead of the traditional Japanese carving technique. He was the leading figure not only in the Japanese sculpture world but also in the entire Japanese art world. In 1948, Asakura became the first Japanese sculptor to receive the Order of Cultural Merit. He passed away at the age of 81 in 1964.
One of the statues (as there are three women) you will see is 'Sanso no Zo' (Three-phase statue) near the JR Ueno Station central ticket gate. Three-phase for this statue stands for 'knowledge, emotion and intention'.
When Ueno Station was celebrating its 75th anniversary commemoration on October 10, 1959 (Ueno Station opened back in July 1883), prior to the commeoration, famous sculptor Fumio Asakura decided to donate another statue on his birthday.
Asakura Fumio was a western-style Japanese sculptor and is known as the father of modern Japanese sculpture and referred to as the 'Rodin of Japan'. His work spanned the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods of Japanese history.