Painting in Japan – Victoria and Albert Museum

Sandra Grantham (Paper Conservation Research Student, RCA/V&A Conservation Course) shares her experiences and discoveries from her time in Japan studying  traditional Japanese painting techniques and materials.

Despite being trained as a painter in the West, Sandra had to re-learn all rudimentary techniques again- from holding the brush to sizing paper, preparing pigments and drawing lines, in 3 months! These are all pretty much taken for granted for us painting with modern pigments from tubes and pre-made ink pots.

Click on the link below to read the full article from V & A.

The Nihonga mosha group. Photography by Aya-san


Conservation Journal, July 1997, Issue 24.

Painting in Japan – Victoria and Albert Museum.



Nihonga100- Contributors

The 4 individuals behind Nihonga100 are:

Eve Loh

Eve first stumbled upon Nihonga while researching on the exchanges between Indian and Japanese artists at Santiniketan. She worked in Japan as an educator for 8 years and studied Nihonga independently. She now works as Manager of Interpretive Resources at the National Art Gallery, Singapore. Nihonga remains very much her personal interest which she pursues independently with no affiliation to the Gallery. Her research interests are Early Meiji Nihonga and Cross-cultural influences in Nihonga (particularly between India and Japan).

Eve started Nihonga100 so that she could continue learning about Nihonga. She helps to organise the blog, interviews and promotes featured artists.





Valerie Eguchi

Valerie is a French painter who has been married to a Japanese national since 1991. Originally trained as a specialist in decorative and wall painting, Valerie discovered Nihonga after several visits to Japan. In 2007, she started studying and practising Nihonga. She is fascinated by this mode of expression and shares her discoveries through public workshops and education initiatives. In 2004, she founded the association, “Pigments et Arts du Monde”, which aims to promote the knowledge of pictorial techniques from different cultures and to establish links through the association’s outreach and meetings. The association hopes to continue promoting artistic techniques and traditions that are relatively unknown in France.

Valerie is our Europe correspondent at Nihonga100 and writes on events and activities in France and Europe.

Yoshinori Akazawa

Akazawa is a Japanese artist living in Kyoto, Japan.  In 1995, He graduated with a BFA in Japanese painting (Nihonga) from Kyoto City University of Arts. The basis of his art is inspired and sketched from Nature- the colours, atmosphere, form, and balance. His artistic expression ranges from paintings to ceramic sculptures. Already recognised and widely exhibited in Japan, Akazawa’s works are also gathering fans internationally. His ceramic works have been exhibited in Italy, Austria, Spain and Japan and are collected by the  Museum of International Ceramics of Faenza, Italy, and Kapfenberg Museum, Austria.

Akazawa is our Japanese contributor from Kyoto and he updates on the Nihonga scene from Kyoto and the rest of Japan.

Judith Kruger

Judith Kruger is an artist, writer and advocate of Nihonga, living in Savannah, Georgia, USA. She first discovered Nihonga in 2001 during a gallery visit in Kyoto. Since then, she has been researching and lecturing internationally on the subject. Judith’s dedication has led to her teaching the first ever university studio class in Nihonga in the USA, at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also conducts regular workshops and classes in addition to her advocacy work in the appreciation and responsible preservation of mineral pigments. As an artist, Judith employs Nihonga as a multi-disciplinary influence in abstract paintings and pushes the boundaries of Nihonga in contemporary art. She views Nihonga as a catalyst for a broader discussion focusing on the core materiality of painting and research-based art practice.

Judith is our contributor from the USA and will update on the activities on her end, as well as contribute articles on Nihonga.

About Nihonga100

Nihonga100 is an online collaboration between 4 people living in different countries across the globe with one common passion: Nihonga (日本画).

Not to be confused with Sumi-e or Suibokuga, Nihonga was a term coined during the Meiji period. During this time, Western painting was on the rise and Nihonga was defined to be what Western painting ( 洋画 yoga) was not. Nihonga uses traditional materials like Japanese paper , gold and silver leaf and natural pigments.

Nihonga paintings capture the essence of Japanese-ness. This explains why many paintings in this genre are often referred to, and depict Yamato-e (Japanese theme paintings of medieval times), native flora, Japanese scenery and personalities.

Through our online project, we hope to share our discoveries, notes, essays on Nihonga and introduce both Japanese and foreign artists painting in this tradition. It is hoped that through Nihonga100, this beautiful artform reaches a wider audience than where it all began.

Nihonga 100 :異なる国々に住む4人が日本画という共通の情熱をもとに立ち上げられたオンラインコラボレーションです。

日本画は墨絵や水墨画と 混同されがちですが、 明治期に洋画に対する「日本画」という ジャンルが確立した近世の概念です。この頃はすでに洋画は盛んになり、新たに日本画の意義が問われました。日本画では伝統素材である、和紙、金箔、銀箔、 そして岩絵具が用いられ、テーマとして日本的な本質を描いたもの、大和絵に見られるような日本の花、風景を特徴とするものが多く扱われます。

このオンライプロジェクトでは、日本画に関する記事、エッセイを通して、新たな発見を共有化を目指します。そして日本の伝統技法によって制作を続け る日本 人と海外の作家を紹介していきます。 Nihonga100があらゆる可能性へのはじまりとなり、日本画が世界への広まりとなるよう期待いたします。

Nihonga100 est une collaboration en ligne entre 4 personnes vivant dans des pays différents à travers le monde avec une passion commune :Le  Nihonga

A ne pas confondre avec Sumi-e ou Suibokuga (peinture à l’encre), le Nihonga est un terme inventé pendant la période Meiji.A l’époque ou la peinture Occidentale était de plus en plus présente, le Nihonga a été défini pour être ce que la peinture Occidentale 洋画 yoga n’était pas. Le Nihonga utilise des matériaux traditionnels comme le papier japonais, la feuille d’or et d’argent et des pigments naturels. Les peintures nihonga capturent l’essence de l’âme japonaise. Ceci explique pourquoi beaucoup de peintures dans ce genre sont souvent citées et dépeignent Yamato-e (les peintures de thème japonaises de temps médiévaux), la flore natale, le paysage japonais, les personages.

Par notre projet en ligne, nous espérons partager nos découvertes, notes, des essais sur le Nihonga et présenter des artistes tant japonais qu’étrangers peignant dans cette tradition. Nous souhaitons que par Nihonga100, cette belle forme d’art atteigne un auditoire plus large que là où tout a commencé.