Japan art and Tomioka Eisen: Meiji artist

Japan art and Tomioka Eisen: Meiji artist

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Tomioka Eisen (1864-1905) was born in the last few years of the Edo Period. His father passed away when he was 15. Accordingly, Tomioka moved to Tokyo and started his career.

Initially, his artistic talent focused on creating illustrations for books and newspapers. Indeed, the world of ukiyo-e was in decline concerning technological advances, the encroachment of Western art, Meiji elites focusing on non-Japanese artist expressions, and the natural economic convulsions of the early Meiji Period (1868-1912).

The British Museum says, “Known for depicting beautiful women. Son of a Matsushiro domain samurai. Trained under Kobayashi Eitaku. Focused on career as an artist from 1890.”

The death of his mentor entailed that Tomioka became an independent artistic soul in 1890. He extensively focused on kuchi-e and sashi-e – illustrations for books and magazines. Therefore, his front pieces for books and magazines – and other angles of Tomioka’s illustration work – generated a popular following.

In the last few years, Tomioka focused more on painting and starting a new artistic path. However, he died relatively young. Therefore, the expansive nature of his art remained unfulfilled.

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