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Kingyo: The Artistry of Japanese Goldfish [Paperback]

By Kanoko Okamoto, Kazuya Takaoka (Illustrator) & Sachiko Kuru (Photographer)
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Item description for Kingyo: The Artistry of Japanese Goldfish by Kanoko Okamoto, Kazuya Takaoka & Sachiko Kuru...

Goldfish were originally brought to Japan from China in 1502, to be raised exclusively by aristocrats as highly prized pets. In the 1800s, however, they became popular among the general public, and ultimately a unique culture of breeders, collectors, and connoisseurs came into being. Packed with photographs, Kingyo: The Artistry of Japanese Goldfish offers a delightful visual tour of goldfish in Japanese art and design, together with a description of the goldfish breeds that have developed in Japan over hundreds of years of meticulous cultivation.
Included in the volume is a novella written in the 1930s titled A Riot of Goldfish which tells of the impossible love of a breeder's son for the daughter of a wealthy patron. As his love grows into an obsession, he attempts to create a goldfish that will capture and reflect her beauty. The story charmingly evokes life in Japan in the early twentieth century and sheds light on the aesthetics of goldfish appreciation.
The stunning visual materials presented here reveal the vast iconography of goldfish in the graphic and decorative arts of Japan, extending to textiles, ceramics, paintings, lacquer ware, toys, and even household items. This book will be an inspiration for designers, collectors, and anyone interested in Japanese art.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   390
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   2.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 17, 2004
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770023030  
ISBN13  9784770023032  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kanoko Okamoto, Kazuya Takaoka & Sachiko Kuru

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! KAZUYA TAKAOKA was born in Kyoto in 1945. As a graphic designer, he has received many outstanding awards, including the Gold Medal at the Japan Graphic Design Exhibition and the Kodansha Publication Culture Award. Among his works are Sennen (A Thousand Years; published by Mainichi Shinbunsha), Yasai
kara mita miku (Meat Seen by Vegetables; published by Parco Shuppan), and Katachi: Classic Japanese Design; published by PIE Books; English edition published by Chronicle Books).
SACHIKO KURU is a commercial photographer; she has been considered a pioneer in the world of Japanese advertising and fashion since the 1980s.
KANOKO OKAMOTO (1889-1939) began her literary career as a poet, but in 1936 she wrote a work that established her as a novelist. Titled Tsuru wa yamiki (The Dying Crane), it was inspired by the life of the writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa, whom she knew before his death a decade earlier. She is known
both for her passionate temperament and the richness of her language. Kingyo ryoran (A Riot of Goldfish) was published in 1937.

Kanoko Okamoto was born in 1889 and died in 1939.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Regional > Asian
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Design > Decorative
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Design > General
4Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Animal Care & Pets > Horses > General
5Books > Subjects > Science > Biological Sciences > Animals > Fish & Sharks
6Books > Subjects > Science > Nature & Ecology > Oceans & Seas > Marine Life

Reviews - What do customers think about Kingyo: The Artistry of Japanese Goldfish?

a treasure!  May 26, 2007
I love goldfish.This book loves goldfish.It is such a strange book,that it may be a hard sell.It is not a book on goldfish,it is about a love of this fish.You will see Japanese children holding their pet fish,in a bowl,smiling down at their fish,as the fish seems to be aware of it's owner,and looks upwards.You will see bowls in ceramic with goldfish painted inside.You will see paintings, kimonos,and sculptures of goldfish-a ton of visual information about other people's love for this tiny creature.It is really an art book,and very,very beautiful to look at.
I think what i like most about this publication,next to it's topic,is it's artistry in design.It is a very odd book,very special,and likely to be ignored here in the west.
Unless, of course,you love goldfish,and trust in my reveiw enough to buy it.

Beautiful photos and art  Mar 8, 2007
As a huge fan of fancy goldfish, I was pleased with this book. The cover and interior are lovely, with hundreds of photographs and art samples.

However, the book would be MUCH better if it was larger. As it is, the photographs are often stuck in the spine of the book, difficult to see.
A Veiw of History & Now.  Nov 10, 2006
Every page contains a visual feast, it's a history of the art/love for fancy's from those that are continuing the tradition.
A bonus of a short story again giving the meaning of fancy's in their lifes.
No care/health/tank maintaining ect. facts pick one of the dozens out.
Beautiful pictures  Aug 30, 2005
but not a book to learn about goldfish. A nice gift book for someone who has goldfish though.
A visual riot of goldfish  Dec 15, 2004
When it comes to artistic and exotic Japanese fish, for most people Koi is the first thing to spring to mind, if anything. A Japanese garden would not seem complete without a few of those large, gold beauties swimming elegantly under a moon-curved bridge. Some might be reminded of the Betta, often called a Japanese Fighting Fish (Or a Chinese Fighting Fish, or a Siamese Fighting Fish, or any-other-Asian-country Fighting Fish...) Rarely would one think of a goldfish.

Goldfish (Kingyo, in Japanese) are as much of an element of Japanese art as koi, cranes, cherry blossoms and white-faced courtesans. Like these, they are appreciated both for their natural beauty as well as their representational picturation. "Kingyo: The Artistry of Japanese Goldfish" explores both of these sides, showcasing the many wonders of the long tradition of goldfish breeding as well as the influence of goldfish design in all aspects of Japanese art, be they ceramics, Ukiyo-e prints, kimonos, children's toys or sword guards.

The photographs of the fish themselves are simply gorgeous. Set against a stark white background, all of the varieties of these highly-cultured living art-objects can be admired, from the calico ryukins to the bizarre suihogan with their giant bubble-like cheek pockets. Some breeds are more easily-appreciated than others, but all of these magnificent photographs show what they have to offer to full advantage. Rather than encumber these images with text, the information of the many breeds is bundled together near the rear of the book.

Along with the actual fish, there is a gallery of pretty much every conceivable type of Japanese art, emblazoned with goldfish. Fine ceramic dishes with subtle patterns, bright and inviting kimonos making the most of the golden color, carrying cases for tobacco and medicine, metal work such as sword guards and silver hairpins; there is clearly not an aspect of art that has remained untouched by these little swimmers. My personal favorites is the collection of Ukiyo-e prints, showing the people of Japan, high and low, enjoying the artistry of Japanese goldfish, from children scooping at them during fairs (an activity still popular in Japan today) to the moneyed classes displaying their latest acquisitions and exotic breeds.

In addition to this, there is a 63-page novella, "A Riot of Goldfish," translated from Japanese and showing the goldfish's influence and writing as well. The story is a fascinating tale of obsession, both in love and in attempting to breed the perfect goldfish. Matachi, the young goldfish breeder is swallowed whole by his art, as he attempts to express his love for the unattainable Masako, using living creatures as his medium. It is an unexpected and welcome addition to what is otherwise a picture book.

I really enjoyed "Kingyo: The Artistry of Japanese Goldfish," much more so than I thought I would before I first picked it up. It made me a convert to the beauty of goldfish.

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