some of the artists lived and or studied in paris, and then came back to japan to teach. some just knew someone who knew someone....
a brief excerpt from what is considered 'japanese impressionism' in a short tale:
He was not to do anything in bad taste, the woman of the inn warned old Eguchi. He was not to put his finger into the mouth of the sleeping girl, or try anything else of that sort.
There were this room, some four yards square, and the one next to it, but apparently no other rooms upstairs; and, since the downstairs seemed too restricted for guest rooms, the place could scarcely be called an inn at all. Probably because its secret allowed none, there was no sign at the gate.
All was silence. Admitted through the locked gate, old Eguchi had seen only the woman to whom he was now talking. It was his first visit. He did not know whether she was the proprietress or a maid. It seemed best not to ask.
A small woman perhaps in her mid-forties, she had a youthful voice, and it was as if she had especially cultivated a calm, steady manner. The thin lips scarcely parted as she spoke. She did not often look at Eguchi. There was something in the dark eyes that lowered his defenses, and she seemed quite at ease herself. She made tea from the iron kettle on the bronze brazier. The tea leaves and the quality of the brewing were astonishingly good, for the place and the occasion--to put old Eguchi more at ease.
In the alcove hung a painting by Kawai Gyokudo, probably a reproduction, of a mountain village warm with autumn leaves. Nothing suggested that the room had unusual secrets.
"And please don't try to wake her. Not that you could, whatever you did. She's sound asleep and knows nothing." The woman said it again: "She'll sleep on and on and know nothing at all, from start to finish. Not even who's been with her. You needn't worry."
Eguchi said nothing of the doubts that were coming over him.
"She's a very pretty girl. I only take guests I know I can trust."
As Eguchi looked away his eye fell to his wrist watch.
"What time is it?"
"A quarter to eleven."
"I should think so. Old gentlemen like to go to bed early and get up early. So whenever you're ready."
The woman got up and unlocked the door to the next room. She used her left hand. There was nothing remarkable about the act, but Eguchi held his breath as he watched her. She looked into the other room. She was no doubt used to looking through doorways, and there was nothing unusual about the back turned toward Eguchi. Yet it seemed strange. There was a large, strange bird on the knot of her obi. He did not know what species it might be. Why should such realistic eyes and feet have been put on a stylized bird? It was not that the bird was disquieting in itself, only that the design was bad; but if disquiet was to be tied to the woman's back, it was there in the bird. The ground was a pale yellow, almost white.
The next room seemed to be dimly lighted. The woman closed the door without locking it, and put the key on the table before Eguchi. There was nothing in her manner to suggest that she had inspected a secret room, nor was there in the tone of her voice.
"Here is the key. I hope you sleep well. If you have trouble getting to sleep, you will find some sleeping medicine by the pillow."
"Have you anything to drink?"
"I don't keep spirits."
"I can't even have a drink to put myself to sleep?"
"She's in the next room?"
"She's asleep, waiting for you."
ⓒ2009 Kawabata Yasunari
from "House of the Sleeping Beauties"