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  Top > RiseUp Japan > Featured Artistse: Kenji Notani

Featured Artists

Kenji Notani
野谷 顕次
Los Angeles, California

“I devote myself to my work each and every day with a wish that one day I will be able to express the wonders of their presence that continues to speak to me, and that is what I hope to share with those with kind and earnest heart.”


Jyuichimen-Kan’non-zo
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Jyuichimen-Kan’non-zo
(The Statue of Ekadaza Mukha),

Upon visiting Shorinji-Temple in Nara, Notani was struck by the beauty of Jyuichimen-Kan’non-zo and felt compelled to do a sketch of the statue on the spot.

Jyuichimen-Kan’non (‘Jyuichimen’ literally means ‘eleven faces’) is the Goddess of Mercy who saves all sentient beings from suffering. A legend has it that after struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, her head split into eleven pieces Amitabha Buddha,seeing her plight, gave her eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering.

The original statue which Notani’s sketch was done from was originally created in the eighth century A.D., and is one of the National Treasures of Japan.


Unchu-kuyo-bosatsu-zo #19
Byodo-in Temple, Kyoto

Byodo-in Temple is a World Heritage Site and also one of the National Treasures of Japan.

There are 51 Bosatsu (Bodhisattvas), and this is one of them. They were once housed in the Ho-o-do (the Phoenix Hall or Amida Hall).

Bodhisattvas are displayed playing musical instruments such as koto, the flute, the Japanese lute and the drum. They accompany the deceased on his/her journey to heaven. The original relief is believed to have been produced in 1053, and the all 51 of them are national treasures.


KENJI NOTANI

Born in Noto, Ishikawa, Japan.

In 1970 Notani relocated to Tokyo to enroll in schools to study art which included painting, fashion and so force.

After graduation Notani launched a fashion fabric design company with a friend, only to discover his passion in Animation production. He later joined the Animation business division of Sanrio, Co., Ltd. and worked on many projects.

In 1994 Notani moved to the United States and joined Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Inc. While at Nickelodeon, he began drawing the images of Buddha statues.

“I was drawn to Buddha statues because of a death of a close relative. I remember feeling deeply moved by their serene, solemn, and benevolent presence.

Over 1,000 years of sentient beings’ prayers and yearning are reflected upon them. Their awe-inspiring beauty is overwhelming. I devote myself to my work each and every day with a wish that one day I will be able to express the wonders of their presence that continues to speak to me, and that is what I hope to share with those with kind and earnest heart.”


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