Yoshiaki Shimizu  Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology Emeritus


Yoshiaki Shimizu

Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology EmeritusJapanese Art


Ph.D., Princeton University, 1974

Professor Shimizu’s teaching and research interests in Japanese art have included: Japanese ink painting of the medieval period, the arts of Zen Buddhism, Heian and Kamakura narrative painting, Sino-Japanese cultural history of 12th through the 16th century, Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, and Kamakura Buddhism and its art.

His interest in the more traditional areas of Japanese art from Heian to Edo, including Sino- Japanese relations, resulted in a numerous publications and papers given at annual meetings of the College Art Association and other academic gatherings. He has published on the workshop operations of the Kano School of Japanese painting of the Muromachi and Momoyama periods. He has also published widely on the subject of Japanese ink painting from the 14th century on, particularly by Mokuan, Shubun and Sesshu. His general interest in the history of how Japanese art has been received in America, especially through public exhibitions, resulted in his 2001 Art Bulletin article “Japan in American Museums: But Which Japan?”

Shimizu served as senior curatorial adviser to the exhibitions Japan: The Shaping of Daimyō Culture, 1185–1868, at the National Gallery of Art (1988), and Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan, the celebration exhibition New York Japan Society (2007). He has held appointments as scholar-in-residence at Japan Society in New York (2006–7) and as guest scholar at the Getty Research Institute (2013–14). In 2013 he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Current Research

Shimizu’s recent research has focused on modern art of the United States and Japan, in particular, the topic of how nuclear disasters have triggered artistic responses in both countries. His recent lectures have included a presentation in Tokyo that compared the Japanese painter Ikuo Hirayama (1930–2009) and his depiction of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima with the American painter Ben Shahn (1898–1969), who created a mural-size painting in response to the nuclear tragedy suffered by the Japanese trawler Lucky Dragon No. 5 off Bikini Atoll in March 1954.

Selected Publications

“On Spirituality in the Work of Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800),” in Homage to All Living Beings Large and Small (Saraya Library, Tokyo, 2012).

“Japan in American Museums: But Which Japan?” Art Bulletin 83.1 (March, 2001).

“The Vegetable Nehan of Itō Jakuchū,” in Flowing Traces: Buddhism in the Literary and Visual Arts of Japan, ed. James H. Sanford, William R. LaFleur, and Masatoshi Nagatomi (Princeton University Press, 1992).

“Transmission and Transformation: Chinese Calligraphy and Japanese Calligraphy,” in Multiple Meanings: The Written Word in Japan, Past Present and Future; a Selection of Papers on Japanese Language and Culture and Their Transmission Presented at the Library of Congress, ed. J. Thomas Rimer (Library of Congress, 1986).

“The Shigisan-Engi Scrolls, c. 1175,” in Pictorial Narrative in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Studies in the History of Art 16, ed. Herbert L. Kessler and Marianna Shreve Simpson (National Gallery of Art, 1985).

Masters of Japanese Calligraphy, 8th–19th Century, exhibition catalogue, coauthored with John M. Rosenfield (Asia Society Galleries, 1984).

“Seasons and Places in Yamato-e and Yamato-uta,” Ars Orientalis, new series 12 (1981).

“Workshop Management of the Early Kano Painters (ca. 1530–1600),” Archives of Asian Art 34 (1981).

“Six Narrative Paintings by Yin T’o-lo: Their Symbolic Content,” Archives of Asian Art 33 (1980).

Japanese Ink Paintings from American Collections: The Muromachi Period; An Exhibition in Honor of Shūjirō Shimada, coedited with Carolyn Wheelwright (The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1976).

“Reconstruction Problems of the Late-12th-Century Narrative Scroll Kokawadera Engi” (in Japanese), Bukkyō Geijutsu 86 (July 1972).