Takato Yamamoto

Posted: May 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Born in Akita, Japan in 1960. Akita is a prefecture located in the northern part of the main island of Japan.
He graduated from the painting department of the Tokyo Zokei University and he experimented with the Ukiyo-e Pop style. He further refined and developed that style to create his Heisei estheticism style (Heisei being the current era name in Japan. The Heisei era started on January 8, 1989, the first day after the death of the reigning Emperor, Hirohito).
His first exhibition was held in Tokyo in 1998.
He is working mostly with litho printing and Japanese ink on paper.

Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs and landscapes, tales from history, the theatre and pleasure quarters. It is the main artistic genre of woodblock printing in Japan. Ukiyo-e were affordable because they could be mass-produced. The original subject of ukiyo-e was city life, in particular activities and scenes from the entertainment district. Beautiful courtesans, bulky sumo wrestlers and popular actors would be portrayed while engaged in appealing activities. Sex was not a sanctioned subject as it continually appeared in ukiyo-e prints. But artists and publishers were sometimes punished for creating these sexually explicit pictures.

Takato Yamamoto is interested in portraying famous occidental myths, such as Salome or Saint Sebastian. His graphic depictions of sex and death remind the work of English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, one of the most controversial artist of the Art Nouveau era.


Salome is mentioned in the New Testament as the daughter of Herodias, a Jewish princess. Christian traditions depict her as an icon of dangerous female seductiveness. Salome’s story has long been a favourite of artists such as Titian, Gustave Moreau, Aubrey Bearsley, Oscar Wilde, Gustave Flaubert.


Saint Sebastian was a Christian saint and martyr, who is said to have been killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. He is commonly depicted in art and literature tied to a post and shot with arrows. He is venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church. The image of the martyred Sebastian has proved a popular subject for artists from the Renaissance onward.


The Japanese junior -and senior- high school uniform traditionally consists of a military style uniform for boys and a sailor outfit for girls. The sailor outfit was modelled after the uniform used by the British Royal Navy when it was introduced to Japan in 1920. Sailor outfits play an undeniably large role in the Japanese sexual canon as evidenced by the large amount of anime and manga featuring characters in uniform.

Takato Yamamoto, Scarlet Maniera, ET, 2007
Takato Yamamoto, Divertimento for a Martyr, ET, 2006