Japan art and the early life of Kanzan Shimomura

Japan art and the early life of Kanzan Shimomura

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Kanzan Shimomura (1873 to 1930) was influenced by many art forms. Despite moving to Tokyo at a very young age, the flow of culture emanating from his native Wakayama impacted Kanzan.

He was born into a distinctive family concerning Noh actors. Thus the cultural and creative angle of his early life impacted Kanzan greatly. Therefore, studying under Kanō Hōgai, Okakura Tenshin, and Hashimoto Gaho from a young age was the icing on the cake.

Bonhams says, “Kanzan began studying painting in 1882 at the age of nine under Kanö Högai. Founded in 1889, he was one of the first students to enter the Tokyo School of Fine Art. One of his classmates was Yokoyama Taikan, with whom he was to have a lifelong friendship and rivalry. At the university, Kanzan chose to study Yamato-e painting under Kose Shöseki and in combination with Kanö style painting it came to form the basis of his art from that point onwards.”

Hence, when still a teenager, Kanzan became an assistant professor. One can only imagine the artistic and cultural world he belonged to during the Meiji Period in Japan.

In 1903, Kanzan studied in Europe for a few years. Thus his artistic and cultural horizons developed further during his stay in Europe. Therefore, by the age of 30, the second stage of his life was underway in Europe.



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