Tokyo Station Gallery
Shusei Kobayakawa (1885-1974) was a Kyoto-based Nihonga artist who was active in the Taisho and Showa periods. Shusei, the eldest son of the head priest of Kotokuji Temple in Tottori, at the age of nine, began training as a Buddhist priest at Higashi Honganji Temple. He later decided to become a painter and studied under the Nihonga artists Taniguchi Kokyo and Yamamoto Shunkyo. As he honed his skills, he was selected a number of times to display his works at the Bunten and Teiten exhibitions. Shusei liked to travel, and depicted various parts of Japan, including Hokkaido and the San’in and Kishu regions. In addition to many trips to China, he visited European countries from 1922 to 1923. In 1926, he traveled to North America, where he endeavored to provide an introduction to Japanese art. He later went into the front time and again as an official war artist, and produced many war paintings; one particularly striking example is Shield of the Nation, which is considered to be his masterpiece. This is the first large-scale retrospective exhibition to give an overview of Kobayakawa’s oeuvre. Over 100 of his works are on display, ranging over his early historical paintings, war paintings that are being displayed for the first time, and the Buddhist paintings of his later years.