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Biography of Japanese Painter

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Yosa Buson (1716 - 1784)

Portrait of Yosa no Buson painted by Goshun

Great Haiku poet in the Edo period along with Matsuo Basho and Kobayashi Issa, and also Great master of the Bunjin-ga style painting along with Ike no Taiga.


Buson was born in Kema village of Settsu Province (present Osaka Prefecture) in 1716.
His real surname was Taniguchi or Tani, and the given name was Nobuaki.
Buson is a pseudonym.
Around 20 years old, he went to Edo and started learning Haiku poem under Yahantei Soa.
When Buson was 27 years old, Soa died, and Buson moved to Yuki of Shimousa Province (present Ibaraki Prefecture).
As Buson admired Matsuo Basho so much, he followed Basho's footsteps and traveled around in Tohoku area.
He depicted pictures in exchange for lodgeing expenses.
Later, he traveled around Tango Province, Sanuki Province and others.
Around 42 years old, Buson took up his residence in Kyoto and lived there until he died.


In the last half of his life, Buson put a great deal of effort in depicting Bunjin-ga drawings.
Bunjin-ga consists of poem, brush writing and painting.
Only cultured and cultivated persons could depict Bunjin-ga drawings.
And only such persons could understand the drawings.
No realism or techniques in the Bunjin-ga drawings.
We have to find mind and meanings from those pictures.
Buson was good at depicting such Bunjin-ga drawings.
He deceased in 1784 (the 3rd year of the Tenmei era) at his domicile in Kyoto at the age of 69.

Crows from Tobi Karasu-zu Black Kite from Tobi Karasu-zu Ryu-In Gyofu-zu (Fishermen in a Willow Grove) Yashoku Rodai-zu (Castles on a Night, National Treasure) Sengyo-zu from Jugijyo (National Treasure)
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