Digital Japanese History

絵本水や空、耳鳥斎 画、3冊 (合1冊) ; 23cm、平安、八文字屋八左衛門、安永9 [1780]、、出典:国立国会図書館「NDLイメージバンク」 (

Another artist of note is Kamei Shōkin (1798-1857), who was known for her talents in Chinese poetry, calligraphy, and painting. Her grandfather was a Confucian scholar; Confucianism seems to have a heavy influence on the women painters of the Edo period due to the social standards set upon them during this era, such as the structure of family. The interest in Chinese literati from male bunjin scholars led to the trend of frequent inclusion of Chinese-style poetry with their artwork, the popularity of this style in the Edo period was also emulated by female bunjinga, such as Shōkin. It is interesting that, according to Suzuki, “in the nineteenth century, painting histories (gashi), biographies of painters (gaden), directories of names (jinmeiroku), and ranked charts of painters (bijutsu banzuke) increasingly included contemporary women painters, not only those of the literati school”[1]. This shows that throughout the 1800s, women artists were beginning to garner the attention their skills deserved as key members of the art sphere of the Edo period.

[1] Suzuki 2016, pp. 164-5.