Narashige Koide and Art of Japan: Portraiture Art, Still Life and Vibrant Nudes

Narashige Koide and Art of Japan: Portraiture Art, Still Life and Vibrant Nudes

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


Yoga (Western-style) portraiture art and expressions of still life by Narashige Koide remain deeply embedded when thinking about this artist. Koide continued to develop through his relatively short life because he died at the age of 43. Near the end of his life he focused on nudes and one can only imagine how this would have developed if he had lived longer. Therefore, artistic themes like portraiture art and still life remain potent when thinking about Koide.

Koide was born in the district of modern named Shinsaibashi in vibrant Osaka. Not surprisingly, regional cultural differences between Osaka and Tokyo are enormous because these two powerhouses are shaped by different geographic realities. For example, the rich historical high culture of Koyasan, Kyoto and Nara all exist within relatively short distances to Osaka. At the same time, the Korean historical legacy can be felt more deeply in Osaka rather than in distant Tokyo.


During his early life at elementary and middle school the emphasis for Koide was Nihonga art. Yet the pulling power of yoga style art was too powerful for Koide despite negative examination results that meant he still had to focus on Nihonga. However, his sense of belonging remained within Western style art therefore he refused to be shackled by convention.

Famous art pieces by Koide include N’s Family, Nude With White Cloth, Boy With A Lamp and Nude On A Bed. Of course, he produced many other notable art pieces and the natural progression can be visibly seen during the later stages of his life.


The highly acclaimed Shimomura Kanzan taught Koide and this reality highlights the power of oil paintings for this son of Osaka. After all, Kanzan is known for his amazing Nihonga are pieces but despite studying this discipline under him he never veered from his real love. Therefore, once the educational side of his development became transformed into desire, then Koide focused on areas that include amazing portraits, nudes, still life and other themes.

Sadly Koide passed away when he was only 43 years of age therefore nobody can say with clarity if he would have altered his artistic path. In saying that, the lateness of focusing on nudes by Koide is very intriguing. Irrespective of this reality, Koide left a very rich legacy because today you can still feel the power and richness of his art.


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