Although Kogyo was born the year after the beginning of the Meiji restoration, which brought Japan into the modern Western world, he was to become famous for his depiction of scenes from the traditional Japanese theatre Noh. A talented and prolific artist he was to created over 550 prints of Noh plays.
At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to the great woodblock artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), who had married his mother. Yoshitoshi, had a “lifelong fascination with Noh” and influenced his apprentice to appreciate all aspects of Noh perfomances. After Yoshitoshi’s death, he went on to study with the painter and woodblock artist Ogata Gekko (1859-1920), who his more modern style Kogyo was to adapt for his woodblocks.
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