K A M I S A K A S E K K A : DA W N O F M OD E R N J A P A N E S E D E S I G N Khanh Trinh – TAASA Review June 2012

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This article was originally found in the June 2012 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 21, Issue 2, Page 4).

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I n 2001, the French fashion brand Hermès featured the woodblock-printed pattern books A world of things (Momoyogusa) of 1909­10 by Kamisaka Sekka (1866­1942) as the cover story for its lifestyle magazine Le Monde Hermès.

Few would have been surprised had the cover illustrated a work by leaders of Japanese contemporary art like Takashi Murakami or Yoshitomo Nara, but the inclusion of Sekka’s book in such a high-profile fashion magazine was perplexing.

Who was this figure from the last century? Except for a handful of Japanese scholars and collectors in Kyoto and the United States, the name `Kamisaka Sekka’ was relatively unknown...