Japan art and the cultured art of Kubo Shunman

Japan art and the cultured art of Kubo Shunman

Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

Kubo Shunman was a very cultured individual who excelled in many areas of life. He was born during the Edo Period in the middle of the eighteenth century. He wrote novels (gesaku) that were light-hearted – and produced haiku and kyoka poetry.

Artistic-wise, Shunman did paintings and ukiyo-e prints. The genres he focused on were very diverse – from birds to beautiful ladies – to everyday life.

The Cleveland Museum of Art says, “Shunman, best known as a composer of witty verses in 31-syllables (kyōka) and designer of limited edition prints called surimono. Shunman was active during the mature era of ukiyo-e production…”

Shunman had a difficult upbringing and became orphaned. Yet, his creativity and determination overcame the obstacles he faced.

Kitao Shigemasa taught Shunman the intricacies of ukiyo-e. The free thinker Katori Nahiko developed Shunman’s poetry and individualism. His teacher was also a noted kokugaku scholar (Japanese classics – Shinto and literature from ancient Japan).

The British Museum says, “He was particularly adept at ‘benigirai-e’ (red-rejecting pictures) in muted color schemes.

It appears that Shunman also admired the artwork of Torri Kiyonaga.


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