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Kiyochika Kobayashi関連写真
Kiyochika Kobayashi関連写真
(Bottom)"A scene of Shiba's Mt. Atago by Kiyochika Kobayashi (1885)" From a collection maintained by the Minato Local History Museum

Kiyochika Kobayashi

  • Biography
1847-1915. Woodblock artist. Kobayashi was born in Edo as the son of the head of the Shogun’s warehouse, and at the of 15 he inherited the family estate after his father’s death. He went through a period of upheaval during the Meiji Restoration as a shogun’s retainer and became an art student in 1874. Two years later he gained popularity after presenting landscape prints called Kosenga, a style of print that incorporated Western-style perspective, an effect of light and gradation of shadows in traditional ukiyo-e. His outstanding works include “Tokyo Shimohashi Ame Uchuzu” (Rainy Scene at Shimohashi Bridge in Tokyo) and “Kudanzaka Satsukiyo” (May Evening at Kudanzaka). He later drew caricatures called “Kiyochika Ponchi.”

  • Association with Minato City
The last ukiyo-e artist to lyrically depict Tokyo during the cultural enlightenment

When Kobayashi was living in Shiba Hamamatsu-cho and Shiba Genzuke-cho, he studied oil painting with an Englishman, a person named Wirgman, and Japanese painting from Kyosai Kawanabe. Using these artists and their styles as a foundation, he produced “Kosenga,” a style. He continued producing the “Tokyo Meishozu” (Famous Sites of Tokyo) series, which used this new style to depict the transformation of Edo into Tokyo. He worked on this series for five years, from 1876, and left many landscapes of Minato City, such as “Takanawa Ushimachi Oboro Gekkei” (Hazy Moon at Ushimachi, Takanawa), “Shiba Zojoji Nicchu” (Daytime at Zojoji, Shiba), “Toranomon Yukei” (Evening Scene at Toranomon), and “Shimbashi Station.”

In the great fire of Ryogoku in 1881, Kobayashi’s house burned down while he was out sketching. He returned to Genzuke-cho in Shiba, and ironically the work he produced during the fire was such a success that it was reprinted many times. Although he produced portraits and colored prints about the Sino-Japanese War, ukiyo-e gradually diminished in popularity. Kiyochika was called The Last Ukiyo-e Artist, and was deeply loved by many people who had a warm attachment to Edo, including the writer Kafu Nagai.

Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (Japanese Biographical Dictionary) (Kodansha)
Nihon Rekishi Jinbutsu Jiten (Encyclopedia of Historic Figures of Japan) (Asahi Shimbun)
Saigo no Ukiyoeshi - Kobayashi Kiyochika (The Last Ukiyoe Artist - Kiyochika Kobayashi) (Susugu Yoshida / Katatsumurisha)
Toki no hashi - Kobayashi Kiyochika Shiko (Bridge of Time - My Thoughts on Kiyochika Kobayashi) (Tadayasu Sakai / Ozawa Shoten)

  • Related Publications
Saigo no Ukiyoeshi - Kobayashi Kiyochika (The Last Ukiyo-e Artist - Kiyochika Kobayashi) (Susugu Yoshida / Katatsumurisha)
Toki no hashi - Kobayashi Kiyochika Shiko (Bridge of Time - My thoughts on Kiyochika Kobayashi) (Tadayasu Sakai / Ozawa Shoten)
Kaika no Ukiyoeshi - Kiyochika (A Ukiyo-e Artist of the Cultural Enlightenment - Kiyochika) (Tadayasu Sakai / Serika Shobo)
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