Corpulence depicted in Yasushi Tanaka's nudes is another interesting twist in how personal tastes change over time, especially in what most Japanese men find to be utterly repulsive - fat women. Yet, they, the slender woman loving Japanese men would drool in secret, along with the prudes, over the sheer naked sight of a beautiful voluptuous woman and fantasize about what it would be like to be with such a woman, not only reveal an undercurrent of hypocrisy in the modern Japanese male psyche, but also in how erotic beauty is understood in general nowadays.
Mr. Yasushi Tanaka is a Japanese man who is not as widely recognized in the art world as his contemporaries, yet his portrayal of a buxom beauty is without a doubt some of the finest expositions of nudes in his genre. There are others who too have drawn similar depictions of naked beauty on canvas, but to see it from the perspective of a Japanese man is extremely rare. Japanese have always, since antiquity, extolled the virtues of asian beauty as being the epitome of feminine belle: petite, cute, small, and elegant.
But not all of Asia, the Chinese during the Tang Dynasty extolled the beauty of corpulence in its art, and sculptors. Images of fat Buddhas all flourished during this era. You can see distended ear lobes, puffy cheeks, and corpulent bodies which were all regarded as holy and venerated, and even beautiful. History shows us that what we regard as beauty changes over time and that maybe defining beauty or categorizing it is wrong. I for one have attempted to define a type of Japanese beauty through my blog by showing women with a particular set of physical qualities: fair skin, black hair, big legs, and so on.... I have achieved a type of subjectivity only but am not sure that I have conveyed the full meaning of what I want to be understood by my readership, so I am using the painter of this photo to highlight that not all of what I adhere so much about corpulent beauty, and Jukujo beauty is me only. I think a lot of men love the busty love handles on a big beautiful woman from time to time.
The artist who drew the above painting, Mr. Tanaka, was a Seattle resident with humble beginnings. Born in Japan, then moved to the states where he received formal education in the arts, and eventually receiving recognition much later on, posthumously. His work is best known for its nudes. I love how he portrays the model in this painting. I like how he captures the leg and hamstring, and torso so well and with simple strokes, he even captures the underarm hair, which I find to be exquisitely beautiful in and of itself, and then the pubic hair which only adds to the natural allure of this painting evoking in me a sense of appreciation for how truly well a woman is made when she loves herself.
In the 19th Century it was the French who saved free expression in Art. The French taught the world that it was OK to show underarm hair on a female belle, and that nudity was totally natural on canvas. Had it not been for France art would not have been able to progressed like it has. The Pagans along with Nero, the last Roman Emperor, were the masters of concupiscence, sowed the seeds of human body love and art that can still be felt today.
This is partly what I had referred to a long time ago in another post about how we all owe a debt to beauty. There were those before us who had to show the world that naked beauty is beauty, and that images of pain and suffering, and unspeakable horrors perpetrated over the last quarter of a century portrayed by the subconscious on canvas painters before us all and then hailed as art! These painters only show us the obvious bitterness of life's vicissitudes. If I can derive inspiration from a painting that shows a normal landscape, something I can see every single waking day of my life, then I sure as hell better be able to also derive the same quality and essence of beauty from a nude painting.
The Japanese are slowly coming around to this realization that beauty is more than anorexic. In Japan 20% of the women are below a healthy weight, but I don't feel that this is a trend. Just from my own observations, no stats, I see waist lines increasing in size women are becoming more proportional and fuller. There's a healthy balance of dry starches that Japanese consume a lot of on a daily basis. Who knows, like the Tang Dynasty, maybe Japan come around to changing its anorexic standard of beauty.