Kaiho Yusho (海北友松)

Yusho KAIHO (1533- June 27, 1615 [June 2, 1615 by the lunar calendar]) was a painter of the Kano School from the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (from 1573) to the early Edo Period (from 1603). His family name was Genji, and his Azana (alias) was Yusho. He was born in the Kohoku area (the area north of Lake Biwa) in Omi, which is now Shiga Prefecture. His first name was Yutoku. He was also called Shoeki. He also used pseudonyms such as Josetsusai and Yukeisai. He had a son, Yusetsu KAIHO, who was also a painter.

He was the fifth son of Tsunachika KAIHO, who served Nagamasa AZAI, a warlord ruling over the land of Omi at the time (Some believe that he may have been the third son). He entered the Zen-priesthood and was trained at Tofuku-ji Temple in Kyoto. It was at this time that he studied the Kano School of art. Later he returned to secular life with the goal of restoring the Kaiho family; however, being acknowledged by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI for his artistic talent, he left samurai life and dedicated his life to artwork. He was the founder of the Kaiho School of Painting.

His style was particularly influenced by the Ryokai (Liang Kai) of the Song and Yuan Dynasties of China, and his own style of painting combined strong sharp lines with making use of the Genpitsu technique, which reduced strokes. His works are mostly water ink on huge screens, and there are also some folding screen paintings featuring strong colors, particularly mineral pigments such as ultramarine and copper green that are applied thickly to a gold or silver foil background.

His tombstone stands in Shinsho Gokuraku-ji Temple (Shinnyo-do) at Shinnyo-cho, Jodoji, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City.

His Representative Works
Hamamatsu-zu (picture of beach and pine trees) Imperial Household Agency
Unryu-zu (Dragon in Clouds) (Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto) Important Cultural Property, Entrusted to Kyoto National Museum
Kaki-zu (picture of flowers) (Myoshin-ji Temple, Kyoto) Important Cultural Property, Entrusted to Kyoto National Museum
Kinki Shoga-zu (four accomplishments celebrated as pastimes of the elite-playing the instrument Kin, playing Chinese chess, practicing calligraphy and painting) (Myoshin-ji Temple, Kyoto) Important Cultural Property, Entrusted to Kyoto National Museum
Kinki Shoga-zu (Reido-in subtemple of Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto) Important Cultural Property, Entrusted to Kyoto National Museum
Shiki Sansui-zu (Landscape of the four seasons) (MOA Museum of Art) Important Cultural Property
Inchu Hassen-zu (Eight Drinking Hermits) (Kyoto National Museum) Important Cultural Property
Chikurin Shichiken-zu (Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove) (Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto)