Meiji art and Hishida Shunso (1874-1911)

Meiji art and Hishida Shunsō (1874-1911)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The highly esteemed artist Hishida Shunsō (1874-1911) belongs to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) of Japanese history. Sadly, he died relatively young. Therefore, nobody will ever know the heights he could have reached – given the abundance of artistic talent that Shunsō was blessed with. 

He moved to Tokyo in 1889 from the environs of Nagano. Naturally, the changing artistic environment and the social lifestyles of Tokyo were very different from Nagano in this period of history. Hence, Shunsō was soon mixing in artistic circles.

The National Diet Library says, “…he came up to Tokyo and studied under Masaaki Yuki. In the following year, he entered the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and received lessons from Gaho Hashimoto and others. After graduation, as a part-timer at the Imperial Museum, he was engaged in the reproduction of classical pictures in Kyoto and at Koyasan.” 

Between 1903-1905, Shunsō visited several Western nations and India with Yokoyama Taikan. Hence, from the deeply inspired Buddhist and cultural influences of Kyoto and Koyasan, the bustling environs of Tokyo, several Western nations, India, and so much more: the world of high culture, art, ideas, modernity, and other important areas all helped to develop the art of Shunsō.

Sadly, Shunsō’s eyesight began to fail concerning ill health. His kidney disease went through spells of relenting to utter despair. Thus, he painted desperately, knowing that the clock was ticking during his final years on this earth. 

However, while his years were short on this earth: his art continues to inspire and attract people during important exhibitions. 

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