Makoto Fujimura first came across my radar over five years ago as World Magazine’s 2005 Daniel of the Year. His artwork was amazing, and as a new believer wrapping up my last year of architecture school it was encouraging to read the cover article on Makoto Fujimura, his respected art, and his open faith.
Fast forward to today. I’m a recovering architect and Crossway, publisher of the ESV Bible (which I have come to enjoy), hired Makoto Fujimura to illuminate the four Gospels to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Crossway is now issuing a New Classic Reference Bible: Commemorative Edition with artwork from Makoto Fujimura.
Now that is a lot of talk on bibles, and there is no shortage of versions, and then compounding editions within those versions. We live in an amazing age where publishing books isn’t a painstaking process, and digital editions can be in your fingertips in a matter of minutes without stepping into a bookstore. Yet I find myself intrigued by Makoto’s artwork teamed with Scripture. The modern art with a modern translation, but Makoto’s traditional Japanese Nihonga techniques alongside ancient words creates an interesting dichotomy. It’s as though from a different age. I love holding a book in my hand and will probably continue to be a Luddite when it comes to reading books. Knowing the time Makoto took to think through the artwork and the intricate process he took to produce the images causes me to pause and contemplate– which is good when it comes to God’s Word.
I’ve wanted to get a reading ESV Bible that I could curl up with in a big chair, but haven’t been able to bring myself to buy another ESV bible since purchasing my beefy study bible a few years ago. Something tugs at me about the plethora of bibles discussed above and all those who own none. Along comes G. A. Dietrich, who is giving one away on his blog since he picked up an extra one at The Gospel Coalition Conference. I’m more than happy to take one off his hands, and if I post about it here it adds two votes to my chances. Thus I thought I would discuss this little rabbit hole of mine and my admiration of Makoto Fujimura’s work. I would encourage you to go try and win it from him, but then that would cut down on my chances.