Japanese painting

Japanese painting

Overview
is one of the oldest and most highly refined of the Japanese visual arts, encompassing a wide variety of genres and styles. As with the history of Japanese arts in general, the long history of Japanese painting exhibits synthesis and competition between native Japanese aesthetics
Japanese aesthetics
The modern study of a Japanese aesthetics in the Western sense only started a little over two hundred years ago. But, by the term Japanese aesthetic, we tend to mean not this modern study, but a set of ancient ideals that include wabi , sabi , and yûgen...

 and adaptation of imported ideas.

The origins of painting in Japan date well back into Japan's prehistoric period
Japanese Paleolithic
The began around 50,000 to 30,000 BC, when the earliest stone tool implements have been found, and continued to around 14,000 BC, at the end of the last ice age, which corresponds to the beginning of the Mesolithic Jōmon period...

. Simple figural representations, as well as botanical, architectural, and geometric designs are found on Jōmon period
Jomon period
The is the time in Japanese prehistory from about 14,000 BC to 300 BC.The term jōmon means "cord-patterned" in Japanese. This refers to the pottery style characteristic of the Jōmon culture, and which has markings made using sticks with cords wrapped around them...

 pottery and Yayoi period
Yayoi period
The is an Iron Age era in the history of Japan traditionally dated 300 BC to 300 AD. It is named after the neighbourhood of Tokyo where archaeologists first uncovered artifacts and features from that era. Distinguishing characteristics of the Yayoi period include the appearance of new...

 (300 BC – 300 AD) dotaku
Dotaku
are Japanese bells smelted from relatively thin bronze and richly decorated. The oldest dōtaku found date from the 2nd or 3rd century , and were nearly only used as decorations for rituals...

bronze bells.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Japanese painting'
Start a new discussion about 'Japanese painting'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
is one of the oldest and most highly refined of the Japanese visual arts, encompassing a wide variety of genres and styles. As with the history of Japanese arts in general, the long history of Japanese painting exhibits synthesis and competition between native Japanese aesthetics
Japanese aesthetics
The modern study of a Japanese aesthetics in the Western sense only started a little over two hundred years ago. But, by the term Japanese aesthetic, we tend to mean not this modern study, but a set of ancient ideals that include wabi , sabi , and yûgen...

 and adaptation of imported ideas.

Ancient Japan
Kofun period
The is an era in the history of Japan from around 250 to 538. It follows the Yayoi period. The word kofun is Japanese for the type of burial mounds dating from this era. The Kofun and the subsequent Asuka periods are sometimes referred to collectively as the Yamato period...

 and Asuka period
Asuka period
The , was a period in the history of Japan lasting from 538 to 710 , although its beginning could be said to overlap with the preceding Kofun period...

 (until 710)


The origins of painting in Japan date well back into Japan's prehistoric period
Japanese Paleolithic
The began around 50,000 to 30,000 BC, when the earliest stone tool implements have been found, and continued to around 14,000 BC, at the end of the last ice age, which corresponds to the beginning of the Mesolithic Jōmon period...

. Simple figural representations, as well as botanical, architectural, and geometric designs are found on Jōmon period
Jomon period
The is the time in Japanese prehistory from about 14,000 BC to 300 BC.The term jōmon means "cord-patterned" in Japanese. This refers to the pottery style characteristic of the Jōmon culture, and which has markings made using sticks with cords wrapped around them...

 pottery and Yayoi period
Yayoi period
The is an Iron Age era in the history of Japan traditionally dated 300 BC to 300 AD. It is named after the neighbourhood of Tokyo where archaeologists first uncovered artifacts and features from that era. Distinguishing characteristics of the Yayoi period include the appearance of new...

 (300 BC – 300 AD) dotaku
Dotaku
are Japanese bells smelted from relatively thin bronze and richly decorated. The oldest dōtaku found date from the 2nd or 3rd century , and were nearly only used as decorations for rituals...

bronze bells. Mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

 paintings with both geometric and figural designs have been found in numerous tumuli
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

 dating to the Kofun period
Kofun period
The is an era in the history of Japan from around 250 to 538. It follows the Yayoi period. The word kofun is Japanese for the type of burial mounds dating from this era. The Kofun and the subsequent Asuka periods are sometimes referred to collectively as the Yamato period...

 and Asuka period
Asuka period
The , was a period in the history of Japan lasting from 538 to 710 , although its beginning could be said to overlap with the preceding Kofun period...

 (300-700 AD).

Along with the introduction of the Chinese writing system (kanji
Kanji
Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters hanzi that are used in the modern Japanese writing system along with hiragana , katakana , Indo Arabic numerals, and the occasional use of the Latin alphabet...

), Chinese modes of governmental administration, and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 in the Asuka period
Asuka period
The , was a period in the history of Japan lasting from 538 to 710 , although its beginning could be said to overlap with the preceding Kofun period...

, many art works were imported into Japan from China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and local copies in similar styles began to be produced.

Nara period
Nara period
The of the history of Japan covers the years from AD 710 to 794. Empress Gemmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō . Except for 5 years , when the capital was briefly moved again, it remained the capital of Japanese civilization until Emperor Kammu established a new capital, Nagaoka-kyō, in 784...

 (710-794)



With the further establishment of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 in sixth and seventh century Japan, religious painting flourished and was used to adorn numerous temples erected by the aristocracy. However, Nara period Japan is recognized more for important contributions in the art of sculpture
Japanese sculpture
The sculpture of Japan started from the clay figure. Japanese sculpture received the influence of the Silk Road culture in the 5th century, and received a strong influence from Chinese sculpture afterwards. The influence of the Western world was received since the Meiji era. The sculptures were...

 than painting.

The earliest surviving paintings from this period include the mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

s on the interior walls of the at the temple Hōryūji in Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture. These mural paintings, as well as painted images on the important include narratives such as jataka
Jataka
The Jātakas refer to a voluminous body of literature native to India concerning the previous births of the Buddha....

, episodes from the life of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, in addition to iconic images of buddhas, bodhisattvas, and various minor deities. The style is reminiscent of Chinese painting
Chinese painting
Chinese painting is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world. The earliest paintings were not representational but ornamental; they consisted of patterns or designs rather than pictures. Early pottery was painted with spirals, zigzags, dots, or animals...

 from the Sui dynasty
Sui Dynasty
The Sui Dynasty was a powerful, but short-lived Imperial Chinese dynasty. Preceded by the Southern and Northern Dynasties, it ended nearly four centuries of division between rival regimes. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty....

 or the late Sixteen Kingdoms
Sixteen Kingdoms
The Sixteen Kingdoms, or less commonly the Sixteen States, were a collection of numerous short-lived sovereign states in China proper and its neighboring areas from 304 to 439 AD after the retreat of the Jin Dynasty to South China and before the establishment of the Northern Dynasties...

 period. However, by the mid-Nara period, paintings in the style of the Tang dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 became very popular. These also include the wall murals in the Takamatsuzuka Tomb
Takamatsuzuka Tomb
The or "Tall Pine Tree Ancient Burial Mound" in Japanese is an ancient circular tomb in Asuka village, Nara prefecture, Japan.The tomb is thought to have been built at some time between the end of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th century. It was accidentally discovered by a local...

, dating from around 700 AD. This style evolved into the (Kara-e) genre, which remained popular through the early Heian period
Heian period
The is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height...

.

As most of the paintings in the Nara period are religious in nature, the vast majority are by anonymous artists. A large collection of Nara period art, Japanese as well as Chinese Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 is preserved at the Shosoin
Shosoin
The is the treasure house that belongs to Tōdai-ji, Nara The building is in the azekura log-cabin style, with a raised floor. It lies to the northwest of the Daibutsuden...

, an eighth-century repository formerly owned by Todai-ji
Todai-ji
, is a Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall , the largest wooden building in the world, houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese simply as Daibutsu . The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the ...

 and currently administered by the Imperial Household Agency
Imperial Household Agency
The is a government agency of Japan in charge of the state matters concerning Japan's imperial family and also keeping the Privy Seal and the State Seal...

.

Heian period
Heian period
The is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height...

 (794-1185)


With the development of the Esoteric Buddhist sects of Shingon and Tendai
Tendai
is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism, a descendant of the Chinese Tiantai or Lotus Sutra school.Chappell frames the relevance of Tendai for a universal Buddhism:- History :...

, painting of the 8th and 9th centuries is characterized by religious imagery, most notably painted . Numerous versions of mandala, most famously the Diamond Realm
Diamond Realm
In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Diamond Realm is a metaphysical space inhabited by the Five Wisdom Buddhas...

 Mandala
and Womb Realm
Womb Realm
In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Womb Realm is the metaphysical space inhabited by the Five Wisdom Kings. The Womb Realm is based on the Mahāvairocana Sutra...

 Mandala
at Tōji in Kyoto, were created as hanging scrolls, and also as mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

s on the walls of temples. A noted early example is at the five-story pagoda
Pagoda
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...

 of Daigo-ji
Daigo-ji
is a Shingon Buddhist temple in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. Its main devotion is Yakushi. Daigo, literally "ghee," is used figuratively to mean "crème de la crème" and is a metaphor of the most profound part of Buddhist thoughts.- History :...

, a temple south of Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

.

With the rising importance of Pure Land
Pure land
A pure land, in Mahayana Buddhism, is the celestial realm or pure abode of a Buddha or Bodhisattva. The various traditions that focus on Pure Lands have been given the nomenclature Pure Land Buddhism. Pure lands are also evident in the literature and traditions of Taoism and Bön.The notion of 'pure...

 sects of Japanese Buddhism in the tenth century, new image-types were developed to satisfy the devotional needs of these sects. These include , which depict Amida
Amida
Amida can mean:* Amitabha, an important Buddha in East Asian Buddhism* Amida , a beetle genus* Amida Buddha* Amidah, the central prayer of the Jewish services* Amidakuji, a way of drawing lots* Amitabh Bachchan, an actor...

 Buddha along with attendant bodhisattvas Kannon and Seishi arriving to welcome the souls of the faithful departed to Amida's Western Paradise. A noted early example dating from 1053 are painted on the interior of the Phoenix Hall of the Byodo-in
Byodo-in
is a Buddhist temple in the city of Uji in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. It is jointly a temple of the Jōdo-shū and Tendai-shū sects.- History :...

, a temple in Uji, Kyoto
Uji, Kyoto
is a city on the southern outskirts of the city of Kyoto, in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Founded on March 1, 1951, Uji is located between the two ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto. The city sits on the Uji River, which has its source in Lake Biwa. As of April 1, 2008, Uji has an estimated population...

. This is also considered an early example of so-called , or "Japanese-style painting," insofar as it includes landscape elements such as soft rolling hills that seem to reflect something of the actual appearance of the landscape of western Japan. Stylistically, however, this type of painting continues to be informed by Tang Dynasty Chinese "blue and green style" landscape painting traditions. "Yamato-e" is an imprecise term that continues to be debated among historians of Japanese art.
The mid-Heian period is seen as the golden age of Yamato-e, which were initially used primarily for sliding doors (fusuma) and folding screens (byōbu
Byobu
are Japanese folding screens made from several joined panels bearing decorative painting and calligraphy, used to separate interiors and enclose private spaces, among other uses.- History :...

). However, new painting formats also came to the fore, especially towards the end of the Heian period, including emakimono
Emakimono
, often simply called , is a horizontal, illustrated narrative form created during the 11th to 16th centuries in Japan. Emakimono combines both text and pictures, and is drawn, painted, or stamped on a handscroll...

, or long illustrated handscrolls. Varieties of emakimono encompass illustrated novels, such as the Genji Monogatari , historical works, such as the Ban Dainagon Ekotoba
Ban Dainagon Ekotoba
is a late 12th century emakimono depicting the events of the Ōtemmon Conspiracy, an event of Japan's early Heian period. The painting, attributed to Tokiwa Mitsunaga, is over 20m long and about 31.5cm tall....

 
, and religious works. In some cases, emaki artists employed pictorial narrative conventions that had been used in Buddhist art since ancient times, while at other times they devised new narrative modes that are believed to convey visually the emotional content of the underlying narrative. Genji Monogatari is organized into discreet episodes, whereas the more lively Ban Dainagon Ekotoba
Ban Dainagon Ekotoba
is a late 12th century emakimono depicting the events of the Ōtemmon Conspiracy, an event of Japan's early Heian period. The painting, attributed to Tokiwa Mitsunaga, is over 20m long and about 31.5cm tall....

uses a continuous narrative mode in order to emphasize the narrative's forward motion. These two emaki differ stylistically as well, with the rapid brush strokes and light coloring of Ban Dainagon contrasting starkly to the abstracted forms and vibrant mineral pigments of the Genji scrolls. The Siege of the Sanjō Palace
Siege of Sanjo Palace
The Siege of the Sanjō Palace was the primary battle of the 1159 Heiji Rebellion. In early January of 1160, after Taira no Kiyomori left Kyoto on a family pilgrimage, Fujiwara no Nobuyori and Minamoto no Yoshitomo saw an opportunity to effect changes they sought in the government...

 
is another famous example of this type of painting.

E-maki also serve as some of the earliest and greatest examples of the otoko-e (Men's pictures) and onna-e (Women's pictures) styles of painting. There are many fine differences in the two styles. Although the terms seem to suggest the aesthetic preferences of each gender, historians of Japanese art have long debated the actual meaning of these terms, and they remain unclear. Perhaps most easily noticeable are the differences in subject matter. Onna-e, epitomized by the Tale of Genji handscroll, typically deals with court life and courtly romance while otoko-e, often deal with historical and/or semi-legendary events, particularly battles.

Kamakura period
Kamakura period
The is a period of Japanese history that marks the governance by the Kamakura Shogunate, officially established in 1192 in Kamakura by the first shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo....

 (1185-1333)


These genres continued on through Kamakura period Japan. E-maki of various kinds continued to be produced; however, the Kamakura period was much more strongly characterized by the art of sculpture
Japanese sculpture
The sculpture of Japan started from the clay figure. Japanese sculpture received the influence of the Silk Road culture in the 5th century, and received a strong influence from Chinese sculpture afterwards. The influence of the Western world was received since the Meiji era. The sculptures were...

, rather than painting.

As most of the paintings in the Heian and Kamakura periods are religious in nature, the vast majority are by anonymous artists.

Muromachi period
Muromachi period
The is a division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573. The period marks the governance of the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate, which was officially established in 1338 by the first Muromachi shogun, Ashikaga Takauji, two years after the brief Kemmu restoration of imperial...

 (1333-1573)


During the 14th century, the development of the great Zen
Zen
Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán , which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state."Zen...

 monasteries in Kamakura
Kamakura, Kanagawa
is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, about south-south-west of Tokyo. It used to be also called .Although Kamakura proper is today rather small, it is often described in history books as a former de facto capital of Japan as the seat of the Shogunate and of the Regency during the...

 and Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

 had a major impact on the visual arts. Suibokuga, an austere monochrome style of ink painting introduced from Sung
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 and Yuan dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 largely replaced the polychrome scroll paintings of the previous period, although some polychrome portraiture remained – primary in the form of chinso paintings of Zen monks.Typical of such painting is the depiction by the priest-painter Kao
Kao (painter)
Kao was a Japanese priest-painter whose work is considered typical of early Muromachi painting.He is especially known for his depiction of the legendary monk Kensu at the moment he achieved enlightenment....

 of the legendary monk Kensu (Hsien-tzu in Chinese) at the moment he achieved enlightenment. This type of painting was executed with quick brush strokes and a minimum of detail.

'Catching a Catfish with a Gourd' (located at Taizo-in
Taizō-in
is the oldest sub-temple of the Myōshin-ji Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple, situated in the northwest of Kyoto, Japan. It was founded by Zen priest Muinsoin in 1404. The original temple buildings were burned during the Ōnin War , and were later rebuilt....

, Myoshin-ji
Myoshin-ji
is a temple complex in Kyoto, Japan. The Myōshin-ji school of Rinzai Zen Buddhism is the largest school in Rinzai Zen. This particular school contains within it more than three thousand temples throughout Japan, along with nineteen monasteries. The head temple was founded in the year 1342 by the...

, Kyoto), by the priest-painter Josetsu
Josetsu
was one of the first suiboku style Zen Japanese painters in the Muromachi Period . He was probably also a teacher of Tenshō Shūbun at the Shōkoku-ji monastery in Kyoto. A Chinese immigrant, he was naturalised in 1370 and is known as 'the father of Japanese ink painting'...

, marks a turning point in Muromachi painting. In the foreground a man is depicted on the bank of a stream holding a small gourd and looking at a large slithery catfish. Mist fills the middle ground, and the background, mountains appear to be far in the distance. It is generally assumed that the "new style" of the painting, executed about 1413, refers to a more Chinese sense of deep space within the picture plane

By the end of the 14th century, monochrome landscape paintings (sansuiga) had found patronage by the ruling Ashikaga family and was the preferred genre among Zen painters, gradually evolving from its Chinese roots to a more Japanese style.

The foremost artists of the Muromachi period are the priest-painters Shūbun and Sesshū
Sesshu Toyo
was the most prominent Japanese master of ink and wash painting from the middle Muromachi period. He was born into the samurai Oda family , then brought up and educated to become a Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest...

. Shūbun, a monk at the Kyoto temple of Shokoku-ji
Shokoku-ji
, formally identified as , is a Buddhist temple in northern Kyoto, founded in 1382 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.-Buddhist center:In 1383, the Zen master was designated by Yoshimitsu as founding abbot, however, Myōha insisted that the official honor be posthumously accorded to his own teacher, Musō...

, created in the painting Reading in a Bamboo Grove (1446) a realistic landscape with deep recession into space. Sesshū, unlike most artists of the period, was able to journey to China and study Chinese painting at its source. Landscape of the Four Seasons (Sansui Chokan; c. 1486) is one of Sesshu's most accomplished works, depicting a continuing landscape through the four seasons.

In the late Muromachi period, ink painting had migrated out of the Zen monasteries into the art world in general, as artists from the Kano school
Kano school
The ' is one of the most famous schools of Japanese painting. The Kanō school of painting was the dominant style of painting until the Meiji period.It was founded by Kanō Masanobu , a contemporary of Sesshū and student of Shūbun...

 and the Ami school adopted the style and themes, but introducing a more plastic and decorative effect that would continue into modern times.

Important artists in the Muromachi period Japan include:
  • Mokkei (circa 1250)
  • Mokuan Reien
    Mokuan Reien
    Mokuan Reien was a Japanese painter of the late Kamakura and early Muromachi periods. He was one of the first artists in Japan to use the newly introduced suiboku style, which was imported from China....

     (d.1345)
  • Kao Ninga (e.14th century)
  • Mincho
    Mincho
    Ming or Song is a category of typefaces used to display Chinese characters, which are used in the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages...

     (1352-1431)
  • Josetsu
    Josetsu
    was one of the first suiboku style Zen Japanese painters in the Muromachi Period . He was probably also a teacher of Tenshō Shūbun at the Shōkoku-ji monastery in Kyoto. A Chinese immigrant, he was naturalised in 1370 and is known as 'the father of Japanese ink painting'...

     (1405-1423)
  • Tenshō Shūbun(d.1460)
  • Sesshū Tōyō
    Sesshu Toyo
    was the most prominent Japanese master of ink and wash painting from the middle Muromachi period. He was born into the samurai Oda family , then brought up and educated to become a Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest...

     (1420-1506)
  • Kano Masanobu
    Kano Masanobu
    was the chief painter of the Ashikaga shogunate and is generally considered the founder of the Kanō school of painting.The Kanō school was a style of painting that maintained dominance over 400 years from Masanobu's time up through the Meiji Restoration...

     (1434-1530)
  • Kano Motonobu
    Kano Motonobu
    Kanō Motonobu was a Japanese painter. He was a member of the Kanō school of painting.Kano Motonobu's father was Kanō Masanobu, the founder of the Kanō school....

     (1476-1559)

Azuchi-Momoyama period
Azuchi-Momoyama period
The came at the end of the Warring States Period in Japan, when the political unification that preceded the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate took place. It spans the years from approximately 1573 to 1603, during which time Oda Nobunaga and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, imposed order...

 (1573-1603)



In sharp contrast to the previous Muromachi period, the Azuchi Momoyama period was characterized by a grandiose polychrome style, with extensive use of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 foil, and by works on a very large scale. The Kano school
Kano school
The ' is one of the most famous schools of Japanese painting. The Kanō school of painting was the dominant style of painting until the Meiji period.It was founded by Kanō Masanobu , a contemporary of Sesshū and student of Shūbun...

, patronized by Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the shogunate in the late 16th century, which ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was also a major daimyo during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. His opus was continued, completed and finalized by his successors Toyotomi...

, Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
was a daimyo warrior, general and politician of the Sengoku period. He unified the political factions of Japan. He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Sengoku period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle...

, Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa Ieyasu
 was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan , which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara  in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but...

, and their followers and gained tremendously in size and prestige. Kano Eitoku
Kano Eitoku
was a Japanese painter who lived during the Azuchi–Momoyama period of Japanese history and one of the most prominent patriarchs of the Kanō school of Japanese painting...

 developed a formula for the creation of monumental landscapes on the sliding doors enclosing a room. These huge screens and wall paintings were commissioned to decorate the castles and palaces of the military nobility. This status continued into the subsequent Edo period, as the Tokugawa bakufu continued to promote the works of the Kano school as the officially sanctioned art for the Shogun
Shogun
A was one of the hereditary military dictators of Japan from 1192 to 1867. In this period, the shoguns, or their shikken regents , were the de facto rulers of Japan though they were nominally appointed by the emperor...

, daimyo
Daimyo
is a generic term referring to the powerful territorial lords in pre-modern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings...

, and Imperial court
Imperial House of Japan
The , also referred to as the Imperial Family or the Yamato Dynasty, comprises those members of the extended family of the reigning Emperor of Japan who undertake official and public duties. Under the present Constitution of Japan, the emperor is the symbol of the state and unity of the people...

.

However, non-Kano school artists and currents existed and developed during the Azuchi-Momoyama period as well, adapting Chinese themes to Japanese materials and aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

. One important group was the Tosa school
Tosa school
The Tosa school of Japanese painting was founded in the 15th century, and was devoted to yamato-e, which are paintings specializing in subject matter and techniques derived from ancient Japanese art, as opposed to schools influenced by Chinese art....

, which developed primarily out of the yamato-e tradition, and which was known mostly for small scale works and illustrations of literary classics in book or emaki format.

Important artists in the Azuchi-Momoyama period include:
  • Kano Eitoku
    Kano Eitoku
    was a Japanese painter who lived during the Azuchi–Momoyama period of Japanese history and one of the most prominent patriarchs of the Kanō school of Japanese painting...

     (1543-1590)
  • Kano Sanraku
    Kano Sanraku
    was a Japanese painter also known as Kimura Heizō, Shūri, Mitsuyori, and Sanraku.His father was the painter Kimura Nagamitsu who flourished circa 1570....

     (1559-1663)
  • Kano Tanyu
    Kano Tanyu
    was one of the foremost Japanese painters of the Kanō school. His original given name was Morinobu; he was the eldest son of Kanō Takanobu and grandson of Kanō Eitoku. Many of the most famous and widely known Kanō works today are by Tan'yū....

     (1602-1674)
  • Hasegawa Tohaku
    Hasegawa Tohaku
    was a Japanese painter and founder of the Hasegawa school of Japanese painting during the Azuchi-Momoyama period of Japanese history.The man known today as Hasegawa Tōhaku was born in 1539 in Nanao, a town in Noto Province to a noted local family of cloth dyers, although evidence shows that...

     (1539-1610)
  • Kaiho Yusho
    Kaiho Yusho
    was a Japanese painter and the son of Kaihō Tsunachika, who was a retainer under the Azai clan of Ōmi Province. Yūshō was said to have been a student under the famous Kanō Motonobu. Afterwards, Yūshō ended up being patronized by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Emperor Go-Yōzei. The paintings that Yūshō...

     (1533-1615)

Edo period
Edo period
The , or , is a division of Japanese history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate....

 (1603-1868)



Many art historians show the Edo period as a continuation of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Certainly, during the early Edo period, many of the previous trends in painting continued to be popular; however, a number of new trends also emerged.

One very significant school which arose in the early Edo period was the Rimpa school
Rimpa school
, is one of the major historical schools of Japanese painting. It was created in 17th century Kyoto by Hon'ami Kōetsu and Tawaraya Sōtatsu...

, which used classical themes, but presented them in a bold, and lavishly decorative format. Sōtatsu in particular evolved a decorative style by re-creating themes from classical literature, using brilliantly colored figures and motifs from the natural world set against gold-leaf backgrounds. A century later, Korin reworked Sōtatsu's style and created visually gorgeous works uniquely his own.

Another important genre which began during Azuchi-Momoyama period, but which reached its full development during the early Edo period was Namban art, both in the depiction of exotic foreigners and in the use of the exotic foreigner style in painting. This genre was centered around the port of Nagasaki, which after the start of the national seclusion policy
Sakoku
was the foreign relations policy of Japan under which no foreigner could enter nor could any Japanese leave the country on penalty of death. The policy was enacted by the Tokugawa shogunate under Tokugawa Iemitsu through a number of edicts and policies from 1633–39 and remained in effect until...

 of the Tokugawa bakufu was the only Japanese port left open to foreign trade, and was thus the conduit by which Chinese and European artistic influences came to Japan. Paintings in this genre include Nagasaki school paintings, and also the Maruyama-Shijo school
Shijo school
The Shijō school , also known as the Maruyama-Shijō school, was an offshoot school of the Maruyama school of Japanese painting founded by Maruyama Ōkyo, and his former student Matsumura Goshun in the late 18th century. This school was one of several that made up the larger Kyoto school...

, which combine Chinese and Western influences with traditional Japanese elements.

A third important trend in the Edo period was the rise of the Bunjinga (literati painting) genre, also known as the Nanga school
Nanga (Japanese painting)
, also known as , was a school of Japanese painting which flourished in the late Edo period among artists who considered themselves literati, or intellectuals. While each of these artists was, almost by definition, unique and independent, they all shared an admiration for traditional Chinese culture...

 (Southern Painting school). This genre started as an imitation of the works of Chinese scholar-amateur painters of the Yuan dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

, whose works and techniques came to Japan in the mid 18th century. Later bunjinga artists considerably modified both the techniques and the subject matter of this genre to create a blending of Japanese and Chinese styles. The exemplars of this style are Ike no Taiga
Ike no Taiga
was a Japanese painter and calligrapher born in Kyoto during the Edo period. Together with Yosa Buson, he perfected the bunjinga genre. The majority of his works reflected his passion for classical Chinese culture and painting techniques, though he also incorporated revolutionary and modern...

, Uragami Gyokudo
Uragami Gyokudo
Uragami Gyokudō was a Japanese musician, painter, poet and calligrapher. In his lifetime, he was best known as a player of the Chinese seven-string zither, the guqin, but people came to appreciate his paintings after his death...

, Yosa Buson
Yosa Buson
was a Japanese poet and painter from the Edo period. Along with Matsuo Bashō and Kobayashi Issa, Buson is considered among the greatest poets of the Edo Period. Buson was born in the village of Kema in Settsu Province...

, Tanomura Chikuden
Tanomura Chikuden
Tanomura Chikuden was a Japanese painter of the Edo period. He is known for his depictions of nature, often melancholic in style.-References:...

, Tani Buncho
Tani Buncho
was a Japanese literati painter and poet.He was the son of the poet Tani Rokkoku . As his family were retainers of the Tayasu Family and descendents of the eighth Tokugawa shogun, Bunchō inherited samurai status and received a stipend to meet the responsibilities this entailed...

, and Yamamoto Baiitsu.

Due to the Tokugawa Shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the and the , was a feudal regime of Japan established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the capital city, Edo, which is now called Tokyo, after the name was...

's policies of fiscal and social austerity, the luxurious modes of these genre and styles were largely limited to the upper strata of society, and were unavailable, if not actually forbidden to the lower classes. The common people developed a separate type of art, the fuzokuga, in which painting depicting scenes from common, everyday life, especially that of the common people, kabuki
Kabuki
is classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing , dance , and skill...

theatre, prostitutes and landscapes were popular. These paintings in the 16th century gave rise to the semi-mass produced woodcut print, or ukiyoe, which was one of the defining media of the mid to late Edo period.

Important artists in the Edo period include:
  • Tawaraya Sōtatsu
    Tawaraya Sotatsu
    was a Japanese artist and also the co-founder of the Rimpa school of Japanese painting. Sōtatsu began to work as a fan-painter in Kyoto. Later, he rose to work for the court as a producer of fine decorated papers for calligraphy. He was highly influenced by Kyoto’s courtly culture...

     (d.1643)
  • Ogata Korin
    Ogata Korin
    was a Japanese painter of the Rinpa school.-Early life:Kōrin was born in Kyoto, to a wealthy merchant who had a taste for the arts and is said to have given his son some elementary instruction therein...

     (1658–1716)
  • Gion Nankai (1677–1751)
  • Sakaki Hyakusen (1697–1752)
  • Yanagisawa Kien (1704–1758)
  • Yosa Buson
    Yosa Buson
    was a Japanese poet and painter from the Edo period. Along with Matsuo Bashō and Kobayashi Issa, Buson is considered among the greatest poets of the Edo Period. Buson was born in the village of Kema in Settsu Province...

     (1716–1783)
  • Ito Jakuchu
    Ito Jakuchu
    was an Eccentric Japanese painter of the mid-Edo period when Japan had closed its doors to the outside world. Many of his paintings concern traditionally Japanese subjects, particularly chickens and other birds...

     (1716–1800)
  • Ike no Taiga
    Ike no Taiga
    was a Japanese painter and calligrapher born in Kyoto during the Edo period. Together with Yosa Buson, he perfected the bunjinga genre. The majority of his works reflected his passion for classical Chinese culture and painting techniques, though he also incorporated revolutionary and modern...

     (1723–1776)
  • Maruyama Okyo
    Maruyama Okyo
    , born Maruyama Masataka, was a Japanese artist active in the late 18th century. He moved to Kyoto, during which he studied artworks from Chinese, Japanese and Western sources. A personal style of Western naturalism mixed with Eastern decorative design emerged, and Ōkyo founded the Maruyama school...

     (1733–1795)
  • Okada Beisanjin
    Okada Beisanjin
    , also known as Hikobe, was a Japanese painter. He is first documented as a rice merchant in Osaka in the 1770s and 1780s. His go , Beisanjin, literally meaning a mountain of rice, may either relate to his profession or reflect deference to the Northern Song period .Okada Beisanjin was a notable...

     (1744–1820)
  • Uragami Gyokudo
    Uragami Gyokudo
    Uragami Gyokudō was a Japanese musician, painter, poet and calligrapher. In his lifetime, he was best known as a player of the Chinese seven-string zither, the guqin, but people came to appreciate his paintings after his death...

     (1745–1820)
  • Matsumura Goshun
    Matsumura Goshun
    Matsumura Goshun , sometimes also referred to as Matsumura Gekkei , was a Japanese Painter of the Edo Period and founder of the Shijō school of painting...

     (1752–1811)
  • Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849)
  • Tani Buncho
    Tani Buncho
    was a Japanese literati painter and poet.He was the son of the poet Tani Rokkoku . As his family were retainers of the Tayasu Family and descendents of the eighth Tokugawa shogun, Bunchō inherited samurai status and received a stipend to meet the responsibilities this entailed...

     (1763–1840)
  • Tanomura Chikuden
    Tanomura Chikuden
    Tanomura Chikuden was a Japanese painter of the Edo period. He is known for his depictions of nature, often melancholic in style.-References:...

     (1777–1835)
  • Okada Hanko
    Okada Hanko
    was a Japanese painter during the Edo period. He was the son of the painter and rice merchant Okada Beisanjin. He built a studio and home near Osaka on the bank of the Yodo River, but was forced to move to Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka due to a rebellion.-References:...

     (1782–1846)
  • Yamamoto Baiitsu (1783–1856)
  • Watanabe Kazan
    Watanabe Kazan
    was a Japanese painter, scholar and statesman member of the samurai class.- Early life :He was born Watanabe Sadayasu in Edo to a poor samurai family, and his artistic talent was developed from an early age. His family served the lord of the Tahara Domain, located in present day Aichi prefecture....

     (1793–1841)
  • Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858)
  • Shibata Zeshin
    Shibata Zeshin
    was a famous and revolutionary Japanese painter and lacquerer of the late Edo period and early Meiji era. In Japan, he is ironically known as both too modern, a panderer to the Westernization movement, and also an overly conservative traditionalist who did nothing to stand out from his contemporaries...

     (1807–1891)
  • Tomioka Tessai
    Tomioka Tessai
    was the pseudonym for a painter and calligrapher in Meiji period Japan. He is regarded as the last major artist in the Bunjinga tradition and one of the first major artists of the Nihonga style. His real name was Tomioka Yusuke, which he later changed to Tomioka Hyakuren.-Early life:Tessai was born...

     (1836–1924)

Prewar period
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 (1868-1945)



The prewar period was marked by the division of art into competing European styles and traditional indigenous styles.

During the Meiji period
Meiji period
The , also known as the Meiji era, is a Japanese era which extended from September 1868 through July 1912. This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan.- Meiji Restoration and the emperor :...

, Japan underwent a tremendous political and social change in the course of the Europeanization and modernization campaign organized by the Meiji government. Western style painting (Yōga
Yoga (art)
or literally "Western-style paintings" is a term used to describe paintings by Japanese artists that have been made in accordance with Western traditional conventions, techniques and materials...

) was officially promoted by the government, who sent promising young artists abroad for studies, and who hired foreign artists
O-yatoi gaikokujin
The Foreign government advisors in Meiji Japan, known in Japanese as oyatoi gaikokujin , were those foreign advisors hired by the Japanese government for their specialized knowledge to assist in the modernization of Japan at the end of the Bakufu and during the Meiji era. The term is sometimes...

 to come to Japan to establish an art curriculum at Japanese schools.

However, after an initial burst for western style art, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction, and led by art critic
Art critic
An art critic is a person who specializes in evaluating art. Their written critiques, or reviews, are published in newspapers, magazines, books and on web sites...

 Okakura Kakuzo
Okakura Kakuzo
was a Japanese scholar who contributed to the development of arts in Japan. Outside of Japan, he is chiefly remembered today as the author of The Book of Tea.-Biography:...

 and educator Ernest Fenollosa
Ernest Fenollosa
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa was an American professor of philosophy and political economy at Tokyo Imperial University...

, there was a revival of appreciation for traditional Japanese styles (Nihonga
Nihonga
or literally "Japanese-style paintings" is a term used to describe paintings that have been made in accordance with traditional Japanese artistic conventions, techniques and materials...

). In the 1880, western style art was banned from official exhibitions and was severely criticized by critics. Supported by Okakura and Fenollosa, the Nihonga style evolved with influences from the European pre-Raphaelite movement and European romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

.

The Yōga style painters formed the Meiji Bijutsukai (Meiji Fine Arts Society) to hold its own exhibitions and to promote a renewed interest in western art.

In 1907, with the establishment of the Bunten under the aegis of the Ministry of Education
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan)
The , also known as MEXT or Monkashō, is one of the ministries of the Japanese government.The Meiji government created the first Ministry of Education in 1871....

, both competing groups found mutual recognition and co-existence, and even began the process towards mutual synthesis.

The Taishō period
Taisho period
The , or Taishō era, is a period in the history of Japan dating from July 30, 1912 to December 25, 1926, coinciding with the reign of the Taishō Emperor. The health of the new emperor was weak, which prompted the shift in political power from the old oligarchic group of elder statesmen to the Diet...

 saw the predominance of Yōga over Nihonga. After long stays in Europe, many artists (including Arishima Ikuma) returned to Japan under reign of Yoshihito, bringing with them the techniques of impressionism
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

 and early post-impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and Post-Impressionism...

. The works of Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas . His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, as he was the only artist to exhibit in both forms...

, Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

 and Pierre Auguste Renoir influenced early Taishō period paintings. However, yōga artists in the Taishō period also tended towards eclecticism
Eclecticism
Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

, and there was a profusion of dissident artistic movements. These included the Fusain Society (Fyuzankai) which emphasized styles of post-impressionism, especially fauvism
Fauvism
Fauvism is the style of les Fauves , a short-lived and loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong colour over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism...

. In 1914, the Nikakai (Second Division Society) emerged to oppose the government-sponsored Bunten Exihibition.

Japanese painting during the Taishō period was only mildly influenced by other contemporary European movements, such as neoclassicism
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 and late post-impressionism.

However, interestingly it was resurgent Nihonga, towards mid-1920s
1920s
File:1920s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: Third Tipperary Brigade Flying Column No. 2 under Sean Hogan during the Irish Civil War; Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol in accordance to the 18th amendment, which made alcoholic beverages illegal throughout the entire decade; In...

, which adopted certain trends from post-impressionism. The second generation of Nihonga artists formed the Japan Fine Arts Academy (Nihon Bijutsuin) to compete against the government-sponsored Bunten, and although yamato-e traditions remained strong, the increasing use of western perspective
Perspective (graphical)
Perspective in the graphic arts, such as drawing, is an approximate representation, on a flat surface , of an image as it is seen by the eye...

, and western concepts of space and light began to blur the distinction between Nihonga and yōga.

Japanese painting in the prewar Shōwa period
Showa period
The , or Shōwa era, is the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25, 1926 through January 7, 1989.The Shōwa period was longer than the reign of any previous Japanese emperor...

 was largely dominated by Yasui Sotaro
Yasui Sotaro
was a Japanese painter, noted for development of yōga portraiture in early twentieth-century Japanese painting.-Biography:Yasui was born to an merchant class household in Kyoto, but dropped out of commercial high school against his family's wishes to pursue a career in the arts...

 and Umehara Ryuzaburo
Umehara Ryuzaburo
was a Japanese painter who painted in a Western style. He attended the Kansai Academy of Art in Kyoto. One of the artists he admired was Pierre-Auguste Renoir....

, who introduced the concepts of pure art and abstract painting to the Nihonga tradition, and thus created a more interpretative version of that genre. This trend was further developed by Leonard Foujita and the Nika Society, to encompass surrealism
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

. To promote these trends, the Independent Art Association (Dokuritsu Bijutsu Kyokai) was formed in 1931.

During the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, government controls and censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 meant that only patriotic themes could be expressed. Many artists were recruited into the government propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 effort, and critical non-emotional review of their works is only just beginning.

Important artists in the prewar period include:
  • Harada Naojiro (1863-1899)
  • Yamamoto Hosui (1850-1906)
  • Asai Chu
    Asai Chū
    was a Japanese painter, noted for his pioneering work in developing the yōga art movement in late 19th century and early twentieth-century Japanese painting.-Biography:...

     (1856-1907)
  • Kano Hogai
    Kano Hogai
    was a 19th century Japanese painter of the Kanō school. One of the last of the Kanō painters, Hōgai's works reflect the deep traditions of the school, but also at times show hints of experimentation with Western methods and styles...

     (1828-1888)
  • Hashimoto Gaho
    Hashimoto Gaho
    was a Japanese painter, one of the last to paint in the style of the Kanō school.Born in Edo, he studied painting under Kanō Shōsen'in, and was influenced as well by the work of Kanō Hōgai. He created many works in the traditional style of the Kanō school, using color & gold, or otherwise...

     (1835-1908)
  • Kuroda Seiki
    Kuroda Seiki
    Viscount was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter and teacher, noted for bringing Western theories about art to a wide Japanese audience. He was among the leaders of the yōga movement in late 19th- and early 20th-century Japanese painting...

     (1866-1924)
  • Wada Eisaku (1874-1959)
  • Okada Saburosuke (1869-1939)
  • Sakamoto Hanjiro (1882-1962)
  • Aoki Shigeru (1882-1911)
  • Fujishima Takeji
    Fujishima Takeji
    was a Japanese painter, noted for his work in developing Romanticism and impressionism within the yōga art movement in late 19th- and early 20th-century Japanese painting...

     (1867-1943)
  • Yokoyama Taikan
    Yokoyama Taikan
    was the pseudonym of a major figure in Meiji, Taishō and early Shōwa period Japanese painting. He is notable for helping create the Japanese painting technique of Nihonga. His real name was Yokoyama Hidemaro.-Early life:...

     1868-1958
  • Hishida Shunso
    Hishida Shunso
    was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter from the Meiji period. One of Okakura Tenshin's pupils along with Yokoyama Taikan and Shimomura Kanzan, he played a role in the Meiji era innovation of Nihonga. His real name was Hishida Miyoji. He was also known for his numerous paintings of cats.- Early...

     1874-1911
  • Kawai Gyokudo
    Kawai Gyokudo
    was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter in the nihonga school, active from Meiji through Shōwa period Japan. His real name was Kawai Yoshisaburō....

     1873-1957
  • Uemura Shōen
    Uemura Shoen
    was the pseudonym of an important woman artist in Meiji, Taishō and early Shōwa period Japanese painting. Her real name was Uemura Tsune. Shōen was known primarily for her bijinga paintings of beautiful women in the nihonga style, although she also produced numerous works on historical themes and...

     (1875-1949)
  • Maeda Seison
    Maeda Seison
    was the pseudonym of a nihonga painter in Taishō and Shōwa period Japan. His real name was Maeda Renzō. He is considered one of the greatest contemporary Japanese painters, and one of the founders of the Nihonga movement.- Biography :...

     1885-1977
  • Shimomura Kanzan
    Shimomura Kanzan
    was the pseudonym of a nihonga painter in Meiji through to the early Shōwa period Japan. His real name was Shimomura Seizaburō.Kanzan was born in 1873 in Wakayama city, Wakayama prefecture into a family of hereditary Noh actors....

     1873-1930
  • Takeuchi Seiho
    Takeuchi Seiho
    was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter of the nihonga genre, active from the Meiji through the early Shōwa period. One of the founders of nihonga, his works spanned half a century and he was regarded as master of the prewar Kyoto circle of painters. His real name was Takeuchi...

     1864-1942
  • Tomioka Tessai
    Tomioka Tessai
    was the pseudonym for a painter and calligrapher in Meiji period Japan. He is regarded as the last major artist in the Bunjinga tradition and one of the first major artists of the Nihonga style. His real name was Tomioka Yusuke, which he later changed to Tomioka Hyakuren.-Early life:Tessai was born...

     1837-1924
  • Uemura Shoen
    Uemura Shoen
    was the pseudonym of an important woman artist in Meiji, Taishō and early Shōwa period Japanese painting. Her real name was Uemura Tsune. Shōen was known primarily for her bijinga paintings of beautiful women in the nihonga style, although she also produced numerous works on historical themes and...

     1875-1949
  • Shimomura Kanzan
    Shimomura Kanzan
    was the pseudonym of a nihonga painter in Meiji through to the early Shōwa period Japan. His real name was Shimomura Seizaburō.Kanzan was born in 1873 in Wakayama city, Wakayama prefecture into a family of hereditary Noh actors....

     (1873-1930)
  • Hishida Shunso
    Hishida Shunso
    was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter from the Meiji period. One of Okakura Tenshin's pupils along with Yokoyama Taikan and Shimomura Kanzan, he played a role in the Meiji era innovation of Nihonga. His real name was Hishida Miyoji. He was also known for his numerous paintings of cats.- Early...

     (1874-1911)
  • Imamura Shiro (1880-1916)
  • Tomita Keisen (1879-1936)
  • Koide Narashige (1887-1931)
  • Kishida Ryusei (1891-1929)
  • Yorozu Tetsugoro (1885-1927)
  • Hayami Gyoshu
    Hayami Gyoshu
    was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter in the Nihonga style, active during the Taishō and Shōwa eras. His real name was Eiichi Maita.Gyoshū was born in the plebian downtown district of Asakusa in Tokyo. He studied traditional painting techniques as an apprentice to Matsumoto Fuko from the age of 15...

     (1894-1935)
  • Kawabata Ryushi
    Kawabata Ryushi
    was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter in the Nihonga style, active during the Taishō and Shōwa eras. His real name was Kawabata Shotarō....

     (1885-1966)
  • Tsuchida Hakusen (1887-1936)
  • Murakami Kagaku (1888-1939)
  • Yasui Sotaro
    Yasui Sotaro
    was a Japanese painter, noted for development of yōga portraiture in early twentieth-century Japanese painting.-Biography:Yasui was born to an merchant class household in Kyoto, but dropped out of commercial high school against his family's wishes to pursue a career in the arts...

     (1881-1955)
  • Sanzo Wada
    Sanzo Wada
    is a painter and a costume designer who won the Academy Award for Costume Design in 1954 for Gate of Hell.-External links:...

     (1883-1967)
  • Umehara Ryuzaburo
    Umehara Ryuzaburo
    was a Japanese painter who painted in a Western style. He attended the Kansai Academy of Art in Kyoto. One of the artists he admired was Pierre-Auguste Renoir....

     (1888-1986)
  • Yasuda Yukihiko
    Yasuda Yukihiko
    was the pseudonym of a major figure in Taishō and early Shōwa period Japanese painting, and is regarded as one of the founders of the Japanese painting technique of nihonga. His real name was Yasuda Shinzaburō.-Career:...

     (1884-1978)
  • Kobayashi Kokei (1883-1957)
  • Leonard Foujita
    Tsuguharu Foujita
    was a painter and printmaker born in Tokyo, Japan who applied Japanese ink techniques to Western style paintings.- Education :In 1910 when he was twenty-four years old Foujita graduated from what is now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music....

     (1886-1968)
  • Yuzo Saeki
    Yuzo Saeki
    was a Japanese painter, noted for his work in developing modernism and Fauvist Expressionism within the yōga art movement in early twentieth-century Japanese painting.-Biography:...

     (1898-1928)
  • Itō Shinsui
    Ito Shinsui
    , was the pseudonym of a Nihonga painter and ukiyo-e woodblock print artist in Taishō and Shōwa period Japan. He was one of the great names of the shin hanga art movement, which revitalized the traditional art after it began to decline with the advent of photography in the early 20th century. His...

     1898-1972
  • Kaburaki Kiyokata 1878-1972
  • Takehisa Yumeji
    Takehisa Yumeji
    , was a Japanese poet and painter. Takehisa died in 1934 at the age of 49. He never studied drawing in any painting school nor under any teacher formally...

     1884-1934

Postwar period
Postwar Japan
Postwar Japan refers to the period in Japanese history immediately following the end of World War II in 1945 to the present day. Before and during the war Japan was known as an empire but is now officially the .-Occupation and democratization:...

 (1945-present)


In the postwar period, the government-sponsored Japan Art Academy
Japan Art Academy
is the highest ranking artistic organization in Japan. The Academy discusses art-related issues, advises the Minister of Education on art-related issues, and promotes art is the highest ranking artistic organization in Japan. The Academy discusses art-related issues, advises the Minister of...

 (Nihon Geijutsuin) was formed in 1947, containing both nihonga and yōga divisions. Government sponsorship of art exhibitions has ended, but has been replaced by private exhibitions, such as the Nitten, on an even larger scale. Although the Nitten was initially the exhibition of the Japan Art Academy, since 1958 it has been run by a separate private corporation. Participation in the Nitten has become almost a prerequisite for nomination to the Japan Art Academy, which in itself is almost an unofficial prerequisite for nomination to the Order of Culture
Order of Culture
The is a Japanese order, established on February 11, 1937. The order has one class only, and may be awarded to men and women for contributions to Japan's art, literature or culture; recipients of the order also receive an annuity for life...

.

The arts of the Edo
Edo period
The , or , is a division of Japanese history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate....

 and prewar
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 periods (1603-1945) was supported by merchant
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

s and urban people. Counter to the Edo and prewar periods, arts of the postwar period became popular. After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, painters, calligraphers
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

, and printmakers flourished in the big cities, particularly Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, and became preoccupied with the mechanisms of urban life, reflected in the flickering lights, neon
Neon
Neon is the chemical element that has the symbol Ne and an atomic number of 10. Although a very common element in the universe, it is rare on Earth. A colorless, inert noble gas under standard conditions, neon gives a distinct reddish-orange glow when used in either low-voltage neon glow lamps or...

 colors, and frenetic pace of their abstractions. All the "isms" of the New York-Paris art world were fervently embraced. After the abstractions of the 1960s
1960s
The 1960s was the decade that started on January 1, 1960, and ended on December 31, 1969. It was the seventh decade of the 20th century.The 1960s term also refers to an era more often called The Sixties, denoting the complex of inter-related cultural and political trends across the globe...

, the 1970s
1970s
File:1970s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: US President Richard Nixon doing the V for Victory sign after his resignation from office after the Watergate scandal in 1974; Refugees aboard a US naval boat after the Fall of Saigon, leading to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975; The 1973 oil...

 saw a return to realism strongly flavored by the "op" and "pop" art movements, embodied in the 1980s
1980s
File:1980s decade montage.png|thumb|400px|From left, clockwise: The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, lifted off in 1981; American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev eased tensions between the two superpowers, leading to the end of the Cold War; The Fall of the Berlin Wall in...

 in the explosive works of Ushio Shinohara
Ushio Shinohara
Ushio Shinohara , nicknamed “Gyu-chan”, is a Japanese Neo-Dadaist artist. His excited, bright, oversized work has exhibited at prestigious institutions internationally, including the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Guggenheim Museum Soho, New York; the Japan...

. Many such outstanding avant-garde artists worked both in Japan and abroad, winning international prizes. These artists felt that there was "nothing Japanese" about their works, and indeed they belonged to the international school. By the late 1970s, the search for Japanese qualities and a national style caused many artists to reevaluate their artistic ideology and turn away from what some felt were the empty formulas of the West. Contemporary paintings within the modern idiom began to make conscious use of traditional Japanese art forms, devices, and ideologies. A number of mono-ha
Mono-ha
Mono-ha is a 20th century Japanese art movement. It share features of, and may have been inspired by, the Land Art movement.-Phase-Mother Earth:...

artists turned to painting to recapture traditional nuances in spatial arrangements, color harmonies, and lyricism.

Japanese-style painting (nihonga) continues in a prewar fashion, updating traditional expressions while retaining their intrinsic character. Some artists within this style still paint on silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 or paper with traditional colors and ink, while others used new materials, such as acrylic
Acrylic paint
Acrylic paint is fast drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry...

s.

Many of the older schools of art, most notably those of the Edo and prewar periods, were still practiced. For example, the decorative naturalism of the rimpa school, characterized by brilliant, pure colors and bleeding washes, was reflected in the work of many artists of the postwar period in the 1980s art of Hikosaka Naoyoshi. The realism of Maruyama Ōkyo
Maruyama Okyo
, born Maruyama Masataka, was a Japanese artist active in the late 18th century. He moved to Kyoto, during which he studied artworks from Chinese, Japanese and Western sources. A personal style of Western naturalism mixed with Eastern decorative design emerged, and Ōkyo founded the Maruyama school...

's school and the calligraphic and spontaneous Japanese style of the gentlemen-scholars were both widely practiced in the 1980s. Sometimes all of these schools, as well as older ones, such as the Kano school
Kano school
The ' is one of the most famous schools of Japanese painting. The Kanō school of painting was the dominant style of painting until the Meiji period.It was founded by Kanō Masanobu , a contemporary of Sesshū and student of Shūbun...

 ink traditions, were drawn on by contemporary artists in the Japanese style and in the modern idiom. Many Japanese-style painters were honored with awards and prizes as a result of renewed popular demand for Japanese-style art beginning in the 1970s. More and more, the international modern painters also drew on the Japanese schools as they turned away from Western styles in the 1980s. The tendency had been to synthesize East and West. Some artists had already leapt the gap between the two, as did the outstanding painter Shinoda Toko
Shinoda Toko
is a Japanese artist working with sumi [ink] paintings and prints. Her art merges traditional calligraphy with modern abstract expression. A 1983 interview in Time magazine noted that “her trail-blazing accomplishments are analogous to Picasso’s”...

. Her bold sumi ink abstractions were inspired by traditional calligraphy but realized as lyrical expressions of modern abstraction.

There are also a number of contemporary painters in Japan whose work is largely inspired by anime
Anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 sub-cultures and other aspects of popular and youth culture. Takashi Murakami
Takashi Murakami
is an internationally prolific contemporary Japanese artist. He works in fine arts media—such as painting and sculpture—as well as what is conventionally considered commercial media —fashion, merchandise, and animation— and is known for blurring the line between high and low art...

 is perhaps among the most famous and popular of these, along with and the other artists in his Kaikai Kiki
Kaikai Kiki
Kaikai Kiki Co. is an artists' collective founded by the artist Takashi Murakami of Japan.Kaikai Kiki was originally founded to manage the many assistants employed to create Murakami's work. It gradually evolved into a collaborative vehicle for other like-minded artists...

 studio collective. His work centers on expressing issues and concerns of postwar Japanese society through what are usually seemingly innocuous forms. He draws heavily from anime and related styles, but produces paintings and sculptures in media more traditionally associated with fine arts, intentionally blurring the lines between commercial and popular art and fine arts.

Important artists in the postwar period include:
  • Ogura Yuki
    Ogura Yuki
    was a nihonga painter in Shōwa period Japan. Her maiden name was Mizoguchi Yuki. She was known for her bijinga.-Biography:Ogura was born in Ōtsu city, Shiga prefecture and graduated from the Nara Women's Normal School...

     (1895-2000)
  • Uemura Shoko 1902-2001
  • Koiso Ryouhei
    Koiso Ryouhei
    was a Japanese artist. He graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts western art department in 1927 and had a successful career from early on...

     (1903-1988)
  • Kaii Higashiyama (1908-1999)

See also

  • List of National Treasures of Japan (paintings)
  • Nihonga
    Nihonga
    or literally "Japanese-style paintings" is a term used to describe paintings that have been made in accordance with traditional Japanese artistic conventions, techniques and materials...

  • Yōga
    Yoga (art)
    or literally "Western-style paintings" is a term used to describe paintings by Japanese artists that have been made in accordance with Western traditional conventions, techniques and materials...

  • History of Eastern art