Japanese art and Ishizaki Kōyō (1884-1947): The flow of Rinpa

Japanese art and Ishizaki Kōyō (1884-1947): The flow of Rinpa

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Ishizaki Kōyō (1884-1947) was born into a wealthy family in the prefecture of Toyama. During his lifetime, he witnessed the modernization of the Meiji period, to the liberalizing period of Taishō, and the nationalist period of Shōwa. Therefore, one can only imagine the ebb and flow of thought patterns that he witnessed and how this altered his perceptions.

Kōyō was blessed to study under Yamamoto Kōichi in the late nineteenth century. In his informative years, he gained extensive knowledge of rinpa (rimpa) art. He also enjoyed life drawing and both would remain within his artistic soul.

In 1903, the majesty of the Shijō School in Kyoto inspired Kōyō. He studied under Takeuchi Seihō and this period in Kyoto enabled Kōyō to blossom.

Another event that inspired and renewed his art was travel. This notably applies to India because a new flow of inspiration and color development emerged. Once more, one can only imagine the India he witnessed. Yet, clearly, he felt inspired and the Hindu temples must have felt similar to the Buddhist temples in Kyoto – and his birthplace. Therefore, on his return to Japan, a more vibrant color theme emerged of flowers and tropical birds.

Overall, Kōyō lived a privileged life and he made the most of his upbringing. Hence, despite the various dynamics of Meiji, Taishō, and Shōwa the world of rinpa stayed in his heart!

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