Kyo Kano (京狩野)

Kyo Kano (Kyoto branch of the Kano School, also called "Kyo-gano") was a school of painters who created many prominent works from the end of Azuchi Momoyama period through the Meiji period. While most of the painters belonging to the Kano School left Kyoto for Edo (old Tokyo) after the fall of the TOYOTOMI family, some painters stayed in Kyoto. Those painters in Kyoto were called "Kyo Kano." The Kyo Kano produced Sanraku KANO, the first school head, and Sansetsu KANO, the second school head. Moreover, Eino KANO, the third school head, wrote "Honchogashi", which was the first book in Japan stating the theory and history of paintings.

Summary

Serving the Tokugawa family after Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's death, most of the painters belonging to the Kano School went to Edo trusting that the Tokugawa shogunate would look after them. This group, including the head family of the Kano School, was called "Edo Kano." However, Sanraku KANO, who had won Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's favor, stayed in Kyoto to serve Hideyori TOYOTOMI. As a result, he was suspected by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) of rebellion after the fall of the TOYOTOMI family, however, pardoned through the mediation of Shojo SHOKADO and the Kujo family. After that, he produced lots of works in Kyoto and other surrounding areas as an official painter of the Kujo family and Hongan-ji Temple.

The decorative painting style peculiar to the works in the Momoyama period were handed down to Sansetsu KANO, the second school head, and generation to generation, and the Kyo Kano served Kugyo (the top court officials), temples and shrines. However, the Kyo Kano had incomparably smaller influence than the Edo Kano that was enjoying a large scale of patronage of the Edo bakufu. Despite the qualification for purveying works to the Imperial Court, the Kyo Kano was ranked third after the Tosa School and the Tsurusawa School, therefore there was a big difference in the circumstances between the Kyo Kano and other two schools.

Eino KANO, the third school head, wrote "Honchogashi", the first book in Japan stating the theory and history of paintings, on the basis of the literary remains of Sansetsu KANO. It is said that he had another meaning in writing Honchogashi of emphasizing the legitimate line of the Kano School since the Muromachi period.

The Kyo Kano gradually lost its influence, but temporally revived in the time of Eigaku KANO, the ninth school head, at the end of the Edo period. However, the Kyo Kano could not enjoy better days for long, rapidly declining in the beginning of the Meiji period.