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Born Terasaki Chutaro, Terasaki Kogyo was the son of an impoverished samurai in the service of the Akita daimyo. He began his artistic career as a Kano painter, studying with Komura Hidetoshi before leaving for Tokyo in 1888. There he studied with Hirafuku Suian, a Murayama-Shijo painter, and later, nanga painter Sugawara Hakuryu. This diverse education led to a distinctly personal style. The year 1893 served as a turning point for the artist: when a fire destroyed of positions in a fire, he decided to break away from the tropes of traditional painting.
In the mid-1890s, Kogyo completed numerous kuchi-e (front pieces for books) for the publishing company Hakubunkan, as well as for the literary magazine Bungei Kurabu from 1897 to 1912. In addition to kuchi-e, Kogyo produced Russo-Japanese war triptychs and lithograph illustrations. During his career, Kogyo exhibited with the Japan Art Association, Japan Youth Painters’ Association and instituted Tenrai Gajuku, the most popular private art school in Tokyo in his time. Beginning in 1897, Kogyo served as a professor at Tokyo School of Fine Arts, briefly withdrawing to work with Okakura Tenshin at the Japan Art Institute, but returning to his post in 1901. A prolific painter of bijin (beautiful women), Kogyo’s beauties helped establish the genre in the state-sponsored Bunten. In 1918, he was selected as an artist of the Imperial Household, a high honor.