Red Maples and Japanese Art

Red Maples and Japanese Art

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Yoshu Chikanobu (Toyohara Chikanobu – 1838-1912) creates a lovely scene comprising nature and a joyful family enjoying Maple trees. He focused on a plethora of different art subjects throughout his lifetime. This includes the serenity of nature, gruesome murders, war, kabukibijin-ga (beautiful ladies), historical events, and other art themes.

The British Museum says, “Pupil of both Kuniyoshi and Kunisada; then became the leading pupil of Toyohara Kunichika, from whom he took the first part of his art name, ‘chika’ as well as the family name Toyohara.”

Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942) focuses on a happy-looking young lady carrying red maples in a basket. He is the last great master of the rinpa (rimpa) art movement.

The Tokyo Fuji Art Museum says, “Kamisaka Sekka was born in Kyoto, with the real name of Yoshitaka. At the age of sixteen he became a student of Zuigen Suzuki, studying Shijo school painting, and in 1888 went on to study under Kokei Kishi, an Imperial Household artist and designer. Around this time he became acquainted with Yajiro Shinagawa, who had experience as a diplomat. Sekka was influenced by the things he learned from Shinagawa about decorative art in Europe.”

Ito Sozan was born in 1884 during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). However, his death remains open to speculation. 

Information about Sozan remains sketchy – at best. Yet he did excel in kacho-e art (prints of birds and flowers). Also, the few known bijin-ga (beautiful ladies) art pieces by Sozan are distinctive.

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