Japan art and Kishi Chikudo (1826-1897)

Japan art and Kishi Chikudo (1826-1897)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Kishi Chikudo (1826-1897) initially focused on the art school of Kano. However, in time, he studied the Kishi principles of art and developed this art form.

He initially studied under the esteemed Nakajima Antai. Yet when he moved to Kyoto, Chikudo studied under Kano Eigaku. Hence, this continuity highlights a relatively stable period within the art school of Kano art before finding a different artistic path.

The British Museum says, he was the “… third son of the samurai Terai Shigenobu from Hikone in what is now Shiga Prefecture. He first studied drawing and painting under a Kano painter. He was not satisfied with the Kano approach, however, and soon moved on to study with Kishi Renzan (1805-59), who adopted him. Chikudo succeeded Renzan as head of the Kishi school.”

Chikudo witnessed the ending of the Edo Period and the momentous changes that took place during the Meiji Period. Hence, the death of his mentor (Kishi Renzan 1805-1859), the 1864 Kimmon Incident when the Choshu clan clashed in Kyoto, his house being burnt down during the upheaval in Kyoto, and other negatives entailed that poverty followed in this period.

The Saru Gallery says, “In 1855, Chikudō participated in the decoration of the Kyoto imperial palace. This imperial commission provided him and his school with a prestigious position in the art world. In his lifetime, Chikudō, Mori Kansai, and Kōno Bairei were regarded as the three greatest painters of Kyoto. His desire to develop an innovative, more individual style made him an important figure in the development of early Nihonga in the first half of the Meiji era.”

The late stages of his life witnessed stability. Artists influenced by Chikudo include Ryutaka Asae, Seiren Fujishima, Eishu Kato, Goun Nishimura, Kado Yoshioka, and Kiyosei Yoshitani.


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