Art historian Nobuo Tsuji is a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo and Tama Art University. His book Kisō no keifu (Lineage of Eccentrics), from 1970, was a trailblazing reappraisal of “eccentric artists” such as Iwasa Matabei, Kanō Sansetsu, Itō Jackuchū, Soga Shōhaku, and Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and dramatically changed the popular view of early modern Japanese art. Tsuji views decorativeness, playfulness, and animism as quintessential features of Japanese art. He has written on a wide range of subjects, from decorative crafts to paintings depicting ghosts, erotic art, and manga.
Nobuo Tsuji vs. Takashi Murakami
From 2009–11 the eminent art historian Nobuo Tsuji and Takashi Murakami engaged in a reimagined e-awase (painting contest). In this twenty-one-round contest, newly published in Battle Royale! Japanese Art History, Tsuji selects historical works and Murakami responds creatively. Round 6 centers on the Edo Eccentric painter Soga Shōhaku and his monumental Dragon and Clouds (1763).