“Fusuma-e,” paintings on the sliding door panels, created by six leading Japanese modern artists are shown at Shinjuan, part of the sprawling Daitokuji temple complex in Kyoto's Kita Ward on Aug. 23. (Video taken by Takaharu Yagi)

KYOTO--Six top contemporary artists breathed new life into old “fusuma” sliding door panels for the first time in 400 years in replacing paintings at a renowned Buddhist temple here.

The spruced-up sliding door panels were shown to reporters and guests at Shinjuan, part of the sprawling Daitokuji temple complex in Kita Ward that is famed for its Zen garden, on Aug. 23.

Shinjuan chief priest Sosho Yamada, 63, decided to replace images painted on the panels by masters centuries ago, including Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610) and Soga Jasoku in the late Muromachi Period (1338-1573).

Some of the original paintings are designated by the government as important cultural properties.

The replacement was done with works of arts created by six leading Japanese modern artists including a cartoonist, an animated film director and four other artists.

Kenichi Kitami, 77, best known for the long-running manga series “Tsuribaka Nisshi” (Diary of a fishing fool), is among the collaborators.

In response to Yamada’s call, the six creators decided to work for free to produce their own “fusuma-e,” paintings on the door panels, utilizing the strength of their respective fields in completing paintings in their own styles.

Some artists spent six months painting their fusuma-e while residing in the temple.

The sub-temple, founded in the 15th century, is closely associated with the Zen monk Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481), commonly referred to as Ikkyu-san.

The paintings on sliding door panels will go on show to the public from Sept. 1 through Dec. 16.

A ticket to enter Shinjuan, part of the sprawling Daitokuji temple complex in Kita Ward, costs 1,200 yen ($10.83) for adults, 600 yen for junior and senior high school students and is free for elementary school pupils and younger children.

The venue will be closed from Oct. 19 through Oct. 21.