Biography of Japanese Painter

Kaburaki Kiyokata (1878 - 1972)

Kaburaki Kiyokata

Bijin-ga (Japanese beautiful woman picture) painter in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa eras.
Kiyokata is ranked with Uemura Shoen and Ito Shinsui as one of the big three Bijin-ga painters.
Including beautiful women, Kiyokata drew many genre paintings whose motifs were people in downtown districts in Tokyo.
Western sources misunderstand that his surname was "Kaburagi", though, "Kaburaki" is correct.

Kiyokata was born in Kanda of Tokyo as a son of Jono Saigiku, popular writer and journalist.
Kiyokata's real given name was Kenichi.
When Kiyokata was 14 years old, he became a disciple of Mizuno Toshikata who was specialized in Ukiyo-e painting.
Around 17 years old, Kiyokata started drawing illustrations for the Yamato Newspaper of which his father was managing.
In 1898, when Kiyokata was 21 years old, he sent a big piece to the 5th Nihon Kaiga Kyokai Exhibition.
He began career as a Bijin-ga and genre painter from this moment.
In 1901, he participated in establishing the Ugo-Kai painting circle.
Kiyokata sent not a few pieces to the exhibitions held by the Ugo-Kai.
He was accepted for the 2nd Teiten Exhibition held in 1927.
From this period, Kiyokata was evaluated as a great master, however, he continued to paint illustrations.
In 1945, because of the air attacks by the US Air Force, Kiyokata was bombed out from his house in Tokyo, therefore, he moved to Kamakura after the end of World War 2.
Even though the good old-fashined cityscape and scenery of Tokyo were all destroyed by the war, he kept drawing genre paintings and good old Bijin beautiful ladies.
In 1954, he was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit.
Kiyokata died on March 2 of 1972 at the age of 93.

  • Asasuzu,  Cool Morning in the summer
  • Akiyoi, Early Evening in the Fall
  • Bijin-ga Painting by Kaburaki Kiyokata
  • Fujo Chin to Asobu, Lady playing with Japanese Chin
  • Tsukiji-Akashi-cho, Hanga Woodblock Print
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