No Minister

War as Art

I don’t know much about Japan’s history outside of WWII but it seems that the following battle was a pretty big deal, on a par with the consequences for Britain of the Battle of Hastings, and for Europe with the Battle of Tours.

The consequences meaning how the societies were permanently changed. Large battles such as Agincourt, Trafalgar, and even Waterloo were huge and important, but I don’t think Britain or Europe would have been as fundamentally changed as they were after the first two battles listed above, or as much as Japan was changed by Sekigahara:

One of the most important wars in Japanese history, the Battle of Sekigahara took place during the Sengoku period on October 21, 1600, in what is now Gifu prefecture. All told, 160,000 men faced each other; the samurai warriors of Tokugawa Ieyasu against a coalition of Toyotomi loyalist clans.

The Tokugawa troops won, leading to the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate which ruled Japan for another two and a half centuries until 1868.

In Japan there’s even a rough equivalent to the Bayeux Tapestry, with a huge wall-sized screen painting of the battle, which can be seen at this link to My Modern Met:

But that article is actually about a Japanese artist who has animated the huge picture:

Inspired by this moment in history, Shigeta based his artwork on an ancient, multi-panel screen that depicts the battle. The original artwork was made in the 1620s and belonged to the Lord Ii of Hikone. A replica made in 1854 illustrates the details of the bloody battle, and even in its still composition, there’s the sense of movement. Shigeta further brings the scene to life by transforming the 19th-century painting into a digitally animated loop.

It’s “only” 1m27s long (there are hours of work involved in producing even 1 second of such computer animation), but you have to watch it repeatedly to see the details.

(UPDATE: Met link corrected)

Written by Tom Hunter

May 27, 2021 at 9:13 am

Posted in History

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