The concept of the Housen Cultural Foundation

Objectives of the assistance we provide

Support for graduate school research programs and graduate students, who will be the future creators of Japanese-style painting, and who will also be the ones to preserve and restore it.

The Housen Cultural Foundation was launched in August 2009 to contribute to the conservation and further development of Japanese art culture. Specifically, we provide support to graduate school research facilities and to graduate students, because we know that these individuals will be the perpetuators of these arts in the future.
We believe that there are two major pillars to the conservation and development of Japanese art culture. Firstly, we need to properly convey our important cultural legacy to future generations. Secondly, we need to create new culture. As for the former, our top priority is Japanese-style painting, which is today being preserved only in Japan. As for new culture, we support Japanese cinema, which stands as a highly unusual art form in the world.

【Preservation and restoration of Japanese-style paintings】

The techniques and materials of Japanese paintings were brought to Japan from China and the Korean Peninsula more than a millennium ago, mainly through Buddhist art. In this art form, natural materials such as stones and shells are glued to Japanese paper, silk, boards, etc., complemented by the use of plant-based coloring. Due to the fragility of these materials, Japanese paintings begin to deteriorate literally from the time they are completed. This means that preservation requires that repairs must always be done, and that they must be done over and over again. Japanese restoration technique, which has been passed on through the present day, is itself an invaluable form of culture, along with the actual art pieces . However, Japan is the only country that maintains this style of traditional Oriental painting (nihonga), which involves unique materials and techniques, along with the associated restoration techniques. These techniques and materials, which have a history of more than a thousand years of tradition, are also indispensible to the preservation and repairs of the cultural treasure of the Silk Road and Southeast Asian regions as well. The materials and expressive techniques of Japanese paintings preserved in Japan, and the associated sophisticated restoration techniques, will undoubtedly contribute to the world cultural heritage more and more as the process of globalization continues.

【Production of Japanese cinema and related research】

In February 2009, an example of Japanese cinema earned an Academy Award in the U.S., furthering the spread of this form of art culture--which Japan can be very proud of--to the world. At the same time, Japanese cinema has been acknowledged around the world for its high level of sophistication and excellent quality long before this time. Japanese cinema has already been used in examples at Fenice ?? University in France, known around the world for its excellent cinema education. In addition to this, the works of directors such as Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu have often been used in cinema education in other countries alongside the work of Hitchcock and others. Japanese movies are acknowledged for their value and superiority in terms of the incredible level of delicate detail used to describe their subject matter. The movies start with a casual look at daily life or familiar objects, creatively depicting the human heart . Above all Japanese cinema seeks a richness of the heart and mind. In general, the value of Japanese cinema is far greater than that Japanese people tend to place on it.

Our view of the significance of the Housen Cultural Foundation

We support Japan’s world-class preservation and restoration techniques for Japanese paintings, which themselves represent a support for world art culture, as well as Japanese cinema, which is acknowledged around the world but hardly recognized in Japan. By supporting these two areas, we believe we can start a movement in Japan to facilitate the transition from a materially-based cultural to a spiritually-based one—something people the world over desire. We at the Housen Cultural Foundation wish to be a foundation that makes people in Japan as well as around the world enjoy more contentment in their lives.

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