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‘Tokyo: Art and Photography’ at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

September 28, 2021 Leave a comment

29 July 2021 – 3 January 2022

Ahhh… Edo, Edo, Edo… …city of dreams, and occasional nightmares… …as Kumagai Jiro Naozane in the final part of the Kabuki play ‘Kumagai Jinya’ (Kumagai’s Battle Camp) says about the fragility of human existence “Juroku nen wa hito mukashi, aa, yume da yume da” (Sixteen years, like a day. Ahhh! It’s a dream, a dream). And if any phrase best represents both the negative and positive potentialities that have emerged from the natural and man-made adversities that have afflicted Tokyo and best reflect, at least in the mind of this reviewer, its impermanence, of almost continual destruction and re-construction since its inception as Edo, it is this one.

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