Biography of Japanese Painter

Reizei Tamechika (1823 - 1864)

Revived Yamato-e painter at the end of the Edo period.
Reizei is one of surnames of the court aristocracies, however, Tamechika never came of such a noble family.

Tamechika was born in 1823 as the third son of Kano Eitai, Kano school painter in Kyoto (Kyo-gano).
From his boyfood, Tamechika copied out many old paintings to develop painting skills and also he studied the history of Japan, usages & practices of the ancient Imperial court or rules of Samurai societies.
Based on them, he aimed to revive the Yamato-e painting style.
In 1850, Tamechika became an adopted son of the Okada family which served the Imperial court as an officer.
From that moment, his surname changed to Okada, though, later, he called himself Reizei Tamechika without permission from the Reizei family.

In the twilight years of shogunate rule, in Kyoto, defenders of the Tokugawa shogunate were attacked by assassins who admired the Emperor.
Even though Tamechika's thought was to protect the Imperial family, he was threatened with assassination because he came in and out of houses of Tokugawa shogunate defenders to see and copy out important old paintings.
In August of 1862, his life as a fugitive began.
He concealed himself at a temple in Kii Province ( present Wakayama Prefecture), finally he was killed by an assassin (Dairaku Gentaro of Choshu Domain) in 1864.

  • Shigemori remonstrates with his father Taira no Kiyomori
  • Revived Yamato-e
  • Takagari (Hunting with Hawk)
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