Imagination and Creativity in Japan: from erotic art (shunga) to anime

In Western tradition nudity in art oftentimes is associated with Antiquity or Renaissance, depicting gods, heroes and innocent beauties. Shunga (春画), or Japanese erotic art, in contrast, strikes with its bold depiction of sexuality. Inspired by Chinese medicine manuals, Shunga very quickly found its way to the mainstream during the edo-period and became appealing to all social classes and genders. Almost all ukiyo artists, well-known for landscapes and portraits, expressed their talents in shunga images as well. Shunga offered unashamed, non-violent, liberating and sometimes humorous approach to sexual pleasure. Despite technological advances, the popularity of the original Shunga artworks has never changed. In fact, this genre has had a significant impact on Japanese video games and especially inspired anime and manga.

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Azumi Uchitani is an Intercultural business consultant, keynote speaker, writer, artist and founder of Japanese SALON art & culture, based in the Netherlands. She is a two-times TEDx speaker, appearing Dutch TV and media and delivering talks to an international audience in Europe and in the US. Azumi is on a mission to build an essential bridge between Japan and Europe, helping global leaders discover Japanese ancient wisdom beyond culture, teaching how to apply its wisdom in everyday life, act with inner peace and create conscious leadership and fulfilling life. Azumi decodes the complexity of Japanese culture, tradition, philosophy, spirituality and unspoken rules into a simple essence of wisdom. She was born into a traditional spiritual Japanese family and raised with the teachings of Shingon Buddhism and Shinto. The spiritual and cultural practices, such as tea ceremony, flower arrangement, calligraphy have always been a part of her life, besides that, her grandmother was a kimono maker. Her insights, a series of talks are available on her YouTube channel “5 minutes on Japanese Wisdom” on YouTube.

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