Home > Cultural Musings, re:film, Spotlight > spotlight: preparing the dead

spotlight: preparing the dead

Picture 8

“I have come to realize that death is a gate. It’s not the end, but a step, a passageway. So I am a gate-keeper, to say good-bye, but also to say ‘See you again.’”  -Shokichi Hirata

. . . . . .

I know little of Japanese culture and I know just enough about art to get me in a lot of trouble when I try to talk about it.

I find myself increasingly growing in my appreciation of both – under the occasional tutelage of artist Makoto Fujimura.

Born in Boston, educated in both the United States and Japan, and a professing follower of Jesus, Fujimura is absolutely fascinating to me.

His writings, just like his paintings, are beautiful and foreign, yet very inviting.  I am not entirely sure how to adequately explain.

Before I point you to a recent writing of his, let me simply say that sometimes it is a welcome and necessary thing to look at the world through the eyes of another person . . . another experience of the world . . . another way of thinking . . . another way of seeing . . . and interact with the world as they perceive it.

I have consistently enjoyed seeing through the eyes of Makoto Fujimura.  He closed a recent writing on Academy Award winning Japanese film Departures in this way:

Would we be honored to be called a misfit in order to fulfill a sacred call to serve the “least of these?”Extravagantly and gently, Departures moves us to such emotional and spiritual quests. In Japan, beauty has always been associated with death; it is only now in Departures that we have a re-definition of Japanese beauty as a conversation for persevering, enduring life. It is a rare feast – even among the dead, the accursed ghosts haunting our convenience culture – to taste such lovingly crafted delicacy, a re-humanized vision for death and life.

I encourage you to jump  over to the Curator blog and read all of Makoto Fujimura’s thoughts on Departures.

I promise you will want to watch the movie, read more of what Fujimura has to say, and probably do a Google Image search to see some of his art.

. . . . . .

I imagine many of you were surprised to find that I am a fan of a Japanese-American artist that you have never heard of before in your life.

(Surprised because of the randomness of it, not because of the ethnicity of it).

Who are the writers, authors, or filmmakers people might be surprised to know you are a fan of?


  1. Dwight Davis
    June 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    One would be Hayao Miyazaki who wrote and directed a movie called Spirited Away which is anime. I usually hate anime, but the writing and the story and the animation are all genius. Also Haruki Murakami who is Japanese writer.

  2. June 11, 2009 at 8:02 am

    shepard fairey http://obeygiant.com/fine-art

    …he is not a writer, author, or filmmakers, but his work gorgeous. its like new age propaganda.

  1. June 17, 2009 at 8:35 am

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