Tsukioka Kogyo Biography

Tsukioka Kogyo




Tsukioka Kogyo was born Henyu Bennosuke in the Nihonbashi district, Tokyo, Japan, on March 7, 1869. After the death of his father when Kogyo was a child, he was taken to live with his mother's family and was given the name Sakamaki, with which he signed his works prior to 1911. While living with his mother's family he trained in pottery painting under his uncle, a ceramics importer, and briefly studied at the University of Tokyo in 1883. By age fifteen had begun to teach the art himself, moving to Fukushima Prefecture to set up his own studio. Upon his arrival he entered the atelier of woodcut artist Tsukio Yoshitoshi, who had married his mother, followed by study at the studio of Ogata Gekko. The final incarnation of Kyogo's name would reflect the respect given to him by both of these teachers, who bestowed characters on him which, combined, would create the title Tsukioka Kyogo by the time he was in his 40s.

In 1911 Kyogo became head of the Yoshitoshi atelier, and was an associate member of the Bijutsu kyokai and Jitsugetsukai art associations, with whom he exhibited frequently and for whom he would become a judge later in his career. He gained critical acclaim for his works not only in Japan but abroad as well, including an award for his woodcut "The Horse Market at Kiso" a the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. He began creating images of Noh theater in his twenties, which would prove to be among his most popular subject matter, gaining notice of the Meiji Empress and others. By the time of his death on February 2nd, 1927, he had produced five major Noh series equaling over 623 individual color woodcuts. The last twenty seven prints of his final Noh series of 200 color woodcuts, Uchito-mode, were posthumously printed by his student, Sufo.

Kyoso's work can be found in major collections throughout the world. The University of Pittsburg in Pennsylvania holds the only complete set of his Noh series outside of Japan.