Ōtagaki Rengetsu Symposium



  • Cost: $10 for non-members, $7 for members
  • Advance ticket purchase required
  • Tickets will be held at the door under your name
  • Time: 7:15pm (museum doors open at 6:00pm)
  • Please note that the Cornell Café and Gardens will be closed for the evening

Woman’s Hand: Text, Texture and Creativity in the Work of Ōtagaki Rengetsu
Talk by Professor Sayumi Takahashi Harb

Professor Harb discusses Rengetsu’s singular place and importance in the history of Japanese literature and art, and interprets specific works from a gender and cultural studies perspective. She expounds on Rengetsu’s background in relation to other female artists and writers, and asks the audience to consider what women’s lives were like at the end of the Tokugawa and early-Meiji periods in Japan through the lens of Rengetsu’s art.

Rengetsu and the Aesthetics of Japanese Calligraphy
Talk by Professor Yukio Lippit

Ōtagaki Rengetsu is famous as a poet and ceramicist, but it is her calligraphy that is perhaps the most recognizable aspect of her cultural profile. Even without knowledge of Japanese, her writing can be appreciated for its innovative and appealing formal qualities. This lecture examines the nature and evolution of Rengetsu’s calligraphy, and situates it within the context of Japanese calligraphy history.


Sayumi Takahashi Harb received her B.A. in Philosophy and Creative Writing from Princeton University, and her Ph. D in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory with a specialization in Women’s Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of specialty include gender studies, pre-modern poetics and literati culture, multimedia and word/image studies, modern Japanese literature, Japanese film and visual culture in transnational contexts, as well as Asian American literature. She has just completed a book on Ōtagaki Rengetsu

Yukio Lippit is a Professor of History and Art & Architecture at Harvard University, and Director of Arts at the Radcliffe Institute of Advance Study. His exhibition “Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800),”  held in 2012 at the National Gallery of Art in  Washington D. C. , attracted the  seventh highest daily attendance in the history of the National Gallery. Professor Lippit has published widely on Japanese painting and architecture. He received awards by college associations for his book Painting of the Realm: The Kano House of Painters in Seventeenth-Century Japan and his essay “Of Modes and Manners in Medieval Japanese Ink Painting: Sesshu’s Splashed Ink Landscape of 1495.”