Kinoshita Itsuun (木下逸雲)

Itsuun KINOSHITA (September 19, 1800, to September 12, 1866) was a nanga painter (an original style of painting in the Edo period which had a great deal of influence from the Chinese Nanga style) during the latter part of the Edo period. He is considered one of the Three Major Experts of Nagasaki along with Somon TETSUO and Gomon SANPO.

He was called Yashiro when he was a child, and he later started to use Shiganosuke as his common name. His imina (personal name) was Shosai. Itsuun is his pseudonym, and his other pseudonyms include Jora-Sanjin and Butsubutsushi. He also used Yochikusanbo and Kakashinjo for the name of his studio.

Brief Biography

He was born as the third son of Katsushige KINOSHITA at Yawata-cho, Nagasaki. He inherited the role of "Otona," or the head of a village, which had been assumed by the Kinoshita family for generations in 1817, transferred the role to his elder brother in 1829, and started working as a medical doctor, which had been his initial interest, using Tokushodo as his professional name. He was committed to proliferation of vaccination taught by a Dutch medical doctor Otto Mohnike.

Itsuun first learned nanga painting from Yushi ISHIZAKI, a karae-mekiki (one of the services of Nagasaki Magistrate's Office in charge of evaluation of artistic articles exported from China and sketching of traded items, birds and animals) and mastered the technique of nanga from Chinese painters who came to Japan, Jiang Jiapu and Zhang Quigu. He also learned various nanga techniques from other Chinese artists such as Chen Yizhou and Xu Yuting. He ardently studied the techniques of various painting schools including Sesshu, the Kano School, Yamato-e painting (a traditional Japanese style painting of the late Heian and Kamakura periods dealing with Japanese themes), and the Maruyama Shijo School and the Western oil painting and incorporated them into his own technique.

He learned with an artist-monk Tetsuo Somon and became his lifetime friend. Itsuun was a fast drawer, which was a complete opposite of Tetsuo who was a slow drawer. He befriended such men of literature as Chikuden TANOMURA, Sanyo RAI, and Tanso HIROSE.

His disciples include Ukoku KAWAMURA, Nanchiku TSUDA, and Shonsen IKESHIMA. His elder sister Koran and his nephew Shuto were also painters.

Known for his versatility, he was an expert in calligraphy, tenkoku (seal-engraving), performance and production of biwa (Japanese lute), and green tea ceremony, and composed excellent waka poems under the name of Fujiwara Saisho.

He contributed to the development of Kameyama-yaki ceramic ware (Nagasaki), known for its white porcelain sometsuke (ceramics with blue patterns on white backgrounds), and hand-painted the porcelain himself. He took the role of steward for Seitan-kai, an art exhibition, at Kagetsu-ro building in Maruyama, Nagasaki, promoting cultural exchange between Japan and China.

In April 1866, he made a tour around Kyoto, Osaka and Edo, and boarded a British ship, Kokuryu-go, heading for Nagasaki at Yokohama in August, but died in a shipwreck off Genkai-nada Sea. He died at the age of 68.

He wrote a short manuscript named 'A Record on Climbing Mt. Kirishima' in 1828.