Japan Art: Cut down before his artistic prime of life

Japan Art: Cut down before his artistic prime of life

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Suzuki Reitan (1792-1817) died before his art could bloom like a beautiful flower. Equally, belonging to the world of rinpa (rimpa) art, his focus was on learning past art and techniques while being schooled.

Reitan died in his mid-20s from rabies. Hence, his artistic life was curtailed before it could reach a fruitful stage.

Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1829), a highly esteemed artist, taught Reitan. Thus, one can only imagine his sadness when Reitan died at such a young age. Of course, with Hōitsu being a Buddhist monk then holy texts will have soothed him based on the cycle of life and death.

With Reitan being a vassal and pupil of Hōitsu then their bond was strong. Indeed Hōitsu speaks of utter panic in a letter he sent to a friend, relating to the death of Reitan.

In recent years, an adorable screen under Reitan’s name was found. The screen painted by Reitan suggests a rich artistic skill.

Overall, with Reitan studying under Hōitsu then obviously he had to be highly talented. Hence, one can only imagine how Reitan would have developed.

Despite the shortness of his life, Reitan was blessed to have studied art under Hōitsu. Therefore, while his art could never bloom, he still witnessed the inner beauty of art and nature in surroundings based on love!


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