Kaburaki Kiyokata (鏑木清方) (Biographical details)

Kaburaki Kiyokata (鏑木清方) (painter/draughtsman; Japanese; Male; 1878 - 1972)

Also known as

Kaburaki Kiyokata (鏑木清方); Ken'ichi (健一)


Painter. Born in Kanda Sakuma-cho, the son of Jono Saigiku and Kaburaki Fumi. His father was an important writer of popular fiction using the name Sansantei Arindo, who founded two newspapers -the 'Tokyo nichinichi shimbun' (1872) and 'Yamato shimbun' (1886). In 1891, while living in Kanda Higashi Konya-cho, became a pupil of Mizuno Toshikata (a pupil of Yoshitoshi), from whom he received the name Kiyokata in 1893. For the rest of the 1890s and until 1907 active as an illustrator of newspapers, literary journals and, from 1900, 'Kabuki' magazine. During the decade leading up to World War I contributed colour-printed frontispieces and cover designs to novels by Izumi Kyoka, Shimazaki Toson and other leading authors.

Began to exhibit paintings from 1897 onwards, forming in 1901 the Ugokai group which sought to revive genre painting in a contemporary manner. Sometimes these had nostalgic literary associations, such as 'Ichiyo joshi no haka' ('The Grave of Higuchi Ichiyo', 1902). In addition to exhibition pictures of beauties in his neo-Ukiyo-e style, such as the prize-winning 'Tsukiji Akashi-cho', shown at the eighth Teiten in 1927, he began a series of imaginative literary portraits such as that of the 'rakugo' performer 'San'yutei Encho' (1930). From c. 1927 revived genre painting in the album and handscroll formats which he referred to as 'table-top art' ('takujo geijutsu'). Kiyokata had ambivalent feelings about being called an Ukiyo-e painter since, particularly early in his career, the lowly social status of Ukiyo-e artists might have hindered his acceptance by the Meiji art establishment. Once his position as a leading Nihonga painter was secure, however, he felt able to refer to himself as 'Kiyokata, last painter in the Ukiyo-e line' ('Ukiyo-e matsuryu Kiyokata') in an inscription on the box of a copy he made of one of Shunsho's great series, 'Manners and Customs of Women in the Twelve Months'. It was about this time, in 1935, that he did his own tribute to Shunsho, a series called 'Manners and Customs of the Twelve Months in the Meiji Era'.

N.B. A family member has confirmed that the correct reading of the name is Kaburaki.