Biography of Japanese Painter

Ganku (1756 - 1839)

Self Portrait of Ganku

Ganku was born in Kanazawa of Kaga Province (present Ishikawa Prefecture).
In childhood, he was apprenticed to a dye shop and was engaged in dyeing Kaga-Zome.
In 1780, Ganku went to Kyoto and started studying painting ardently.
He taught himself various painting styles such as the old Chinese paintings, Nanbin school and Maruyama school, and, he established his own painting style.
In 1784, he drew paintings on room partitions (Shoheki-ga) of the Arisugawanomiya princely court.
In 1789, he drew Shoheki-ga of the Imperial Palace.
In 1809, he was invited by Maeda Narinaga, daimyo (landlord) of Kaga Domain, therefore, Ganku returned with glory to his hometown.
He drew Shoheki-ga of Kanazawa Castle.
Ganku caltivated many pupils.
It is said that he was exhibitionistic man and his fee for drawing was so expensive.
He was good at painting Sansui landscape views, animals and flowers.
Especially, he was most good at painting tigers.
Ganku deceased in 1839 at the age of 83 (There is a heresy).
He was buried at the Hongan-Ji Temple in Kyoto.

  • Mouko-zu, Fierce Tiger
  • Reibyo-zu, Divine Cats
  • Mouko-zu (Fierce Tiger)