Japanese Surrealist Painter Tetsuya Ishida, Chinese Reactions

Tetsuya Ishida.

From Tiexue:

Technology terrorism: The work of Japanese surrealist painter Tetsuya Ishida, plenty absurd/fantastic!

Tetsuya Ishida (1973 June 16 – 2005 May 23), a famous Japanese surrealist painter, his work mostly expresses the artist’s fear of modern technology and culture, the content composed mostly of the author’s own objectified image, the style weird and disturbing.

Perhaps artists’ personalities are all more fragile, Tetsuya Ishida despite knowing that he was “wronging the organization that fostered [him]” still chose to die from a “train hit”…

Comments from Tiexue:


Very scary images…no wonder Japanese suicide rates are that high! ~Many people have dark feelings, and this artist has illustrated them for all to see…



it is surrealist art,

though different themes are all art~


No wonder he would go get hit by a train, he has psychological problems.


The deviant paintings of a deviant people. I just want to vomit looking at these, my head unbearably dizzy/faint.


Sigh, makes me think of Van Gogh, so many artists have mental problems, so frightening!


Pretty gloomy art, though it should reflect the oppression of society upon the individual…

To put another way, Tetsuya is calling for a world where people can live like people instead living like a machine or some other thing…

There’s some deeper meaning~


I also do creative, it is indeed very oppressive work, simply letting people breathe is some difficulty, so this is also a kind of limit.


From them I can see loneliness, apathy, disillusionment…and a true “desert”.

The creator appears to be denouncing modern civilization’s twisted and ugly nature, the over dependence on technology, and the increasing hypocrisy of civil society.

“A more and more convenient life is causing people to become more lonely. Living life by the rules then makes people into machines and the slave of machines, even again making people into wild animals…”


People like the Japanese should be destroyed, everyone of them like those crazy terrorists. Looking at these paintings just makes me feel nauseous.


All of the paintings are of one subject: The division of labor in society causing each person to become objectified, become spare parts. Japanese society is especially like this.


This brother’s stuff has been hyped to astronomical prices now.


Technology’s development has indeed made things more convenient for people, yet at the same time has also lead people to ignore family, friends, and love.

Society is becoming impulsive, money worshipping, and morally bankrupt.

When everything revolves around money, then what difference is there between humans and machines and decorations?

Care about your own family, because a life is very short; Care about the people you know, because you may not necessarily meet them in your next life!


Normal humans no matter what would not be able to paint these, deviant/abnormal Japanese people.


These images aren’t bad, how come I don’t feel gloomy?? Very creative.

Tetsuya Ishida.

Humans are better than machines. chinaSMACK personals.

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  • Josephus Flavius

    The sofa is very comfortable.


  • Bo

    Cool art. Very creative

  • FYIADragoon

    The Chinese version would just be a bunch of whores and fat men fucking.

    • FoB

      really? i thought japanese people already invented it, called hentai or was that the tentacle version.

  • EnglishPRC

    great work of art

  • http://pengxwang.com p

    they are enlightening paintings

  • Zardoz

    Seriously what do you expect from a culture that brought us this?

    Dream Of The Fisherman’s Wife

    • Dongdong

      I’d expect a lot.

  • dude

    Art is art. Rest can go to hell.
    Haters shut up

  • j money

    This guy is genius he is like a Tim Burton of the human condition in Japan. Showing art like this to Chinese people is equivalent to showing a monkey Einstein’s theory of relativity.

    They just don’t have the skill sets to process like own opinion, sarcasm, dark humor, social narrative that is rebellious, etc. However, i doubt most people understand this type of are around the world

    The bright side is, it is nice to know that as an American we have thought the Chinese to believe we are “all special,” the all singing all dancing crap of the world…awesome

    • TTOZ

      What are you, 12?

    • MXL

      You’re right, and you’re a disgrace to American intellects around the world.
      Oh did I mention Americans descended from Europeans? Oh did your parents tell you differently? Or were your ancestors aboriginals living in North America when the Spanish and English came?
      Just because one person expressed their opinion doesn’t mean it is uniformly expressed in every other person of that race. Your comment just proved that you are incapable of understanding history and/or psychology.

  • Octavian

    This art is better than anything that has ever come from China. Ever.

    • Mechanized

      generalize much?

    • Alikese

      You’ve never had a really good bowl of Niurou Mian, have you?

      • Weebo

        “really good” and “niurou mian” in one sentence.. I lolled

  • @@

    japanese society is a highly conservative and conformative society, his art is a reflection of that, and thats why more japanese artist success overseas rather than in their own homeland.

    Chinese post-modern art is picking up and gaining a fair bit of momentum in European and stateside artscene in the recent years. and how many Chinese do you think work in creative industries such as major production films and high profile video games? the digital art scene is filled with Chinese artist in their 20s. massive black shanghai is a proof of that.

    i adore some aspects of japan’s modern popular culture, i also have a few jap friends, i’ve been to tokyo once before and i hope to go again soon, but i’m also aware of something like the parade that goes on in Yasukuni shrine every now and then.

    the average intelligence of the posters here are no higher than the tieuxe comments.

  • korean_guy

    this is utter crap! I can’t believe what society deems art these days. i can make art like this shitting in a squatter in rural china.

  • YuUkI

    I admire his artwork. By looking at them, he made me feel what should be felt when looking at such works.

  • elenore

    I like this it,looks like a blend of Frieda Kohlo and her husband Diego Riviera.

  • 水溶C100

    Hey everyone,

    I noticed a lot of people talking about creativity in schools. This TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson is excellent. School systems everywhere could be better and in my personal opinion the Chinese education has a long, long, long way to go.


  • vito

    I love this site, I think is great because I know more interesting things-news about China or what Chinese think about them.

    However, I should say that almost every time I read comments, most of the Chinese comments are really absurd, no sense, without knowledge, always (most of the time) against some foreign people. One sample is this news about the Japanese painter. Really ridiculous comments.

    He is just a painter!! my gosh!!

    I’m a professional designer and I must say this painter was great!! just look the paints, so creative! whatever if he was sick in his mind or not, it won’t matter. There is no a reason why you Chinese (well, I’m obviously referring my comment to the ones that wrote negative comments in here) say those stupid comments against Japanese or just him.

    I have been in Japan (oh by the way, I’m from Spain) and I should say most of Japanese ppl I know over there are such as nice guys.

    This news is not about what happened years ago when Japanese did what they did in China (I’m totally 100% with Chinese about this, I live in China and my wife and son are Chinese) This news is about this amazing artist!

    Get over it!!! my gosh!! post an smart comment or an interesting opinion about it!!!

    The world keep running with or without YOU, if YOU keep living n the past….there YOU will be…..if you move forward ….then YOU will improve.

    • InstantNoodles

      Some of the Chinese comments selected for this one are on topic and non-biased. Don’t just read the worst of them and think that is what the whole Chinese internet is. That would be like going on 4chan and think all forums across the world wide web are filled with pedophiles.

      On the topic of the arts, I get some of them, others not quite. I hope after painting these the artist felt some relief within himself. He definitely got his feelings and main message across to his audiences.

  • anti-dentite

    Some of the reactions were thoughtful and considered, but I’m really put off by “these are clearly the works of deviant creatures, no normal human could make these, looking at these makes me sick, annihilate all deviant japs” comments. It reflects an absolute unwillingness to consider another point of view or reasonably imagine the mindset of the person creating these paintings. Of course no normal human could make these – the average folk spends most of his time slaving away at a crappy job, overdosing on TV, jerking off, and eating, and has the fine motor skills of a nine year old.

    I wonder how these commentators would react to seeing paintings by Francis Bacon or even Dali. “Clearly the work of abnormal Japanese psychopath, probably ate too much of his own vomit and urine, Liberation Army attack!”

    • bobiscool

      Very thoughtful comment. We need more people like you in the world, and less of jones and co.

      In my opinion, the pictures are very well drawn, and make a very good point. It would be hard for society to change, though.

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  • CTraise

    I love how everyone seems to cry out in moral outrage to these images. Really goes to show how peoples critical thinking abilities can just grind to a halt any time anything that implies deviancy (even on just a surface level.) It’s quite ironic because I think most people can understand feeling like a part in a machine. (Society, work, consumerism, etc.)

    In other words, if you think it’s a good idea to live a live with a purpose outside of just WORK or CONSUMING then YOU PROBABLY AGREE WITH THIS ‘DEVIANT’ ARTISTS POINT OF VIEW.

    In other words, YOU’RE JUST AS DEVIANT AS HIM.

  • Matty

    Seeing comments about destroying the Japanese people just makes me laugh. They still hold a grudge from unpunished crimes in the deaths of 10 million civilians, yet they praise their countries biggest criminal, Mao Zedong, whose policies and purges led to a death toll between 50 to 60 million people.

    Also, detracting from the Japanese art scene is hilarious as the Chinese art scene is often so heavily repressed that artists often become expats to escape the Communist regime.

  • cat

    this artist is amazing, so creative and really affects his views …………..thats the objective, so all these people who think its sad and gloomy and depressing just prove how well this artist has got through to them public.

    • MXL

      I agree, it is said that when they see art they see parts of themselves.

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  • Cora

    Art is art. Just because the artist decides to paint in metaphors does not mean that he/she is mentally ill. However, I do believe that the rabid prejudice going around here is something sort of mental illness.

  • Marcus Law

    i do not what mean they is draw ^^

  • Sam

    It’s sad to see all of these comments about how someone who paints using the genre “surrealism” is instantly decided that he/she is mentally ill and should not even exist or is a deviant. I’m someone who likes to paint many different types of art and surrealism is one of them. Just because artists have a different mind set from everyone else doesn’t make them weird, or even disturbing. I mean really not one person thinks the exact same way; we can have things that are in-common or agree with each other over certain things but we are all different. Saying this I think the art is very expressive and is meant for the audience to feel sad or depressed; the painting and design in colors is fantastic.

  • Lisa Corimbi

    He is not deviant, he is innocent. That artist has the rare talent to unmask the ” polite” society which hides the shit. He makes just connection between reality and what is covered. Genius.
    I’m a writer, my wish is be able to transpose the reality through words as he did through signes.

  • John Wayne

    Awesome job there Tetsuya Ishida. Thank you for sharing your art for all to see. Rest In Peace Tetsuya.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1678393184 John Russell

    Amazing work and attention to detail, very expressive. Don’t let constructs or preconceived notions get in the way of any interpretation of art or artist intentions or it just turns into speculation. I would like to see anyone dismissing the work to try and replicate a painting of Tetsuya Ishida’s and see what degree of skill these paintings take then try to sell their work for the price that the original sold for.

  • http://thebigc.blog.com narsfweasels

    Jones makes a good point… every time I mention I have Japanese friends to a Chinese person their mouths go into that circular shape, eyes open wide and they whisper “You know what they did to us, don’t you?!”

    Get over it guys: they never apologised for their crimes, but neither did Mao.

  • lolz

    That’s just the way it is. Jews are still butthurt over the holocaust, why don’t you tell them not to build any more museums or making more movies on the subject, and get over it? Right because you would be called a holocaust denier and antisemite racist if you had done that.

    You also can have an article about how great Muslims are and you will still get tons of commentors from all over the world calling to destroy them.

    To a lot of people Japan did China wrong just Nazi did Jews wrong and Muslims did NYC wrong. You may think differently about these events but that’s how most others think it.

  • 机器猫

    “I swear. It could be an article with some Japanese helping save a bunch of children from drowning and they’d still say it’s evidence of the Japanese being demonic freaks and makes them sick, and then call for their eradication.”

    Hmm, my experience says otherwise. Chinese people’s attitude towards Japan is pretty bipolar.

    “But then I know there isn’t a big “creativity” movement going on in China, so…”

    Like others have pointed out this is not true. The reason China’s art scene thrived is because it’s not affected by the lack of IP enforcement, which pretty much killed industrial design. China has the third biggest art market btw (meaning buyers, not just artists), and the fastest growing.

    From Wikipedia:
    “In terms of buying-market, China recently overtook France becoming the world’s third-largest art market, after the United States and the United Kingdom, due to the growing middle-class in the country.”


    Also, generalizing “Chinese” as a single demographic is pretty meaningless. China is a society of segregated extremes. If you want to compare cultural attitude rather than economic status, perhaps “art buying per capita within a certain income category” is more appropriate.

  • MXL

    You know? What do you know? Do you have evidence? What is the basis for making your claims? All you do is leaving these vague comments that doesn’t end up anywhere. If you have anything to say, say it. Then go get a life.

  • http://thebigc.blog.com narsfweasels

    That’s great!They DID apologise! So it’s time to get over it and move on with our lives! Yay!

  • Stuey

    “That’s why China has such a huge art scene”

    Yes, China has a huge art scene. Works by modern artists sell for millions globally. Jones and Uber, you guys should try finding out about these things before coming up with tired and bigoted cliches about ‘the Chinese’ not being creative.

  • MXL

    That’s the soviet union, not japan.

  • Stuey

    Sorry, that came across over-harsh… it was just that your posts reminded me of the kind of bigoted blanket statements that always appear on blogs like this. You guys weren’t actually generalising too much- although the idea that China as a collective entity stole a song from Japan doesn’t make much sense…

    But anyway, modern art- there’s lots of it, and it surely counts as a “creativity movement”.

  • Teacher in China

    I see creativity from my students every day. EVERY DAY. Yes, admittedly, it’s a stretch for some of them and some aren’t quite capable of it to the same degree as people in “the West”, but it’s there. I’m getting sick of the “Chinese people are x” bullshit. C’mon, I can’t even look at my school and say “my students are x” because of all the variation, and you’re trying to do it with a country with 1.4 billion people.

    Also, just because there isn’t an organized art community in a city like Nanjing doesn’t mean there are no creative people there. It just means there isn’t an audience for it and no one has the guts to try to make it as an artist for a living.

  • 美大侠

    That does nothing to imply “creativity.” China’s education system, as much as I hate to say it, is seriously failing in the creativity/improvisation dept. You do what the teacher says, how they say it, or you don’t go to school… no imagination at all. I have to basically twist my students arms to get them to tell me something original, that isn’t something we just read or talked about.

    When’s the last time there was a great artist/musician/inventor that created some new world-changing masterpiece that came from China? I can’t say that I can name one since the 1920’s-30’s… nowadays its take what the west has, copy it, sell it back.

  • Shanhairen

    From what I’ve heard Japanese society can be quite oppressive for many people…more so than Chinese society.

    Anyway, you do hear a lot of admiration for Japanese culture among educated people. It just depends what you ask and how you ask it.

  • Tadd

    You can check it out on wikipedia:


    I’m too lazy to sift through all of it, but I read a few apologies and they are very “wordy”; they don’t seem to directly apologise; but hey, thats politics for you.

  • MXL

    Okay let’s send in a squad of mobs to kill all your family and friends. Then they’ll apologize. You’re gonna move on, GREAT!

  • Dolantin

    Mao did apologised in his memoir, volume 3, Chapter 11, quote:

    Mao: “Make your mouth into circular shape! Mao whispers to the ears of Narsfweasels’ mama, you know what I am going to do, don’t you?”

    Narsfweasels’ mama: “Please it hurts.”

    Mao: “I’m sorry.”

    Narsfweasels’ mama: “You said sorry but should I get over it?”

    Mao: “European get over with Germany, did they?”

    Narsfweasels’ mama: “Yes but they will not get over it, if every Germany Chancellor still honours WWII war criminals in public ceremony and use swastikas on their national flags.”

    Mao: “Ok can you shut up for while? Nixon is coming, put some clothes on and go kick your Narsf weasel bustard son in the ass.”

  • Stuey

    I’m not actually trying to compare the US and China for ‘creativity’- I don’t doubt that the USA has more people doing art, music etc, but then the USA is on average a much richer country- more people can afford to spend their time doing that. The point I was making is simply that Chinese modern art is a very big deal- and you could call it a movement (or a number of movements)- so don’t write it off. And as for comparing China to ‘the rest of the world’- who knows enough to make that comparison? India, Russia, the Middle East, South America, Africa, Europe- and of course Japan… can we rate these places on a creativity scale?

    PS- as well as the standard attacks on Japan- which, I agree, always appear- there’s also appreciation for the paintings up there. I wouldn’t take the attacking bits as representative.

  • Alikese

    Yup, Lanzhou La Mian, damn I want some of that now. It would probably only take 2-3 years of practicing noodle pulling with some Uyghurs before I could do it myself and boil up the “beef” donkey meat like a pro. Then I’d have to start wearing one of those kickass doily hats that they all have, win-win situation really.

  • korean_guy

    I’m not knocking on the guys technical skills. I just dislike post-modern abstract art. His art says NOTHING (yes I realize that post-modernism by definition is meaningless).

    What’s more idiotic is people sitting around looking at it for days trying to come up with something meaningful TO THEM. It’s stupidity to extremes!

    And sooner than we’d like we are gonna have millions of up and coming Chinese artist doing the same meaningless art.

    The above collection isn’t art. A lot of the crap coming out these days aren’t art.

  • bobiscool

    All you people can say is that the chinese are not creative, yet you have given not even a single trustworthy source showing statistics on the “creativity” of people in China as compared to other countries.

    You know that the Chinese are superior to you in school (Go look at the SAT averages of whites, blacks and asians for the past 5 years, IQ distributions, % of ivy league admits, etc) so all you can do to comfort yourselves is say that the chinese are uncreative. How pathetic.

    Of course you see US artists more than chinese artists, seeing as you speak and read english.

    But chew on this: do you honestly think that current pop culture including art and music has any creativity at all? Current pop culture tends are not based on creativity, but by the looks of the so called “artists”.

    I fail to see how reading a badly written poem as fast as possible is being creative. Or shouting at the top of your lungs.

    Look at live performances of pop singers these days, their voices are all so weak and shudders.

    BTW I’m not just talking about the US, but everywhere. They’re there to sell and earn money, not to show creativity.

  • Jess

    sooo…i”m not going to take a side since you boys seem to have that down already…just to make a few pointers:

    (a) I think both the US and China could learn alot from each other.
    (b) China has a BIG chip on its shoulder. World War II? Got run over by the Japanese. 19th century? Got run over by European powers.
    (c) Chinese creativity: so i’m a liberal-arts fan hater (yay girl engineers), but i have yet to hear of any “invention” in China that wasn’t plagiarized or a knock-off something else. like for me, Chinese creativity would have to be something like….a cure to cancer.
    (d) i think Britain had an empire, but the US should not have an empire. if the US empire falls, as an American, I’m all for that. we’re a republic, not an empire. it’s the entire basis for our “Declaration of Independence”

  • b. prichard

    Abstract? I think you may want to consult a dictionary on the meaning of that term.

  • korean_guy

    I didn’t say the above art was abstract…I just included abstract art to this guys “surreal”, but useless post modern art, that I dislike.

  • Alikese

    It’s hard to sound cultured when you bring up wine from New Zealand as the pinnacle, was Baiyanghe the only other choice? And lobster is boiled, not baked.

  • Alikese

    And I responded to the wrong post, take that!

  • 机器猫

    I can see what you mean. For a long time I have had impression that Chinese are somehow uncreative, but then I looked deeper and thing become ever more ambiguous.

    I’m not sure what you mean by a “creative movement” though.

  • 机器猫

    I think what you meant is they don’t value self-expression.

    By essence, “creative accounting” or “how to make money on the web” also involve the mind roaming a large problem space, often bending or breaking the rules. By this definition, you can probably find plenty of creativity.

    You may find this interesting:


  • Moody

    denying the holocaust is a crime because it leads to revisionism

    “6 million is a rather convenient number”
    how can you find that “convenient” ?

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