Born Chutaro Terasaki, Kogyo Terasaki 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 Hidetoshi Komura before leaving for Tokyo in 1888. There he studied with Suian Hirafuku, a Murayama-Shijo painter, and later, the Nanga painter Hakuryu Sugawara. This diverse education led to a distinct artistic style. The year 1893 served as a turning point for the artist: when he lost his possessions 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 between 1897 to 1912. In addition to kuchi-e, Kogyo produced senso-e (war prints) during the Russo-Japanese and lithographic 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.
Ukiyo-e | Japanese Woodblock Prints | Ronin Gallery