Kangakai (鑑画会)

The Kangakai was a fine art association in the early Meiji period.

As a result of a rapid Europeanization in the early Meiji period, conventional artworks were depreciated, and artists also lived in poverty because of lost demand. In such a situation the "Ryuchikai" came into existence in 1878 in order to preserve and promote art. However, Fenollosa, who was the brain of the Ryuchikai, began to aim for the creation of new Japanese paintings in combination of Japanese and Western-styles by the help of Hogai KANO, which brought clashes inside of the Ryuchikai. As a result, the Monbusho (Ministry of Education) group including Ryuichi KUKI, Tenshin OKAKURA, and Yusaku IMAIZUMI broke away from the association and inaugurated the "Kangakai" in 1884.

Its main activities were antique artwork appraisal by FENOLLOSA, holding exhibitions of contemporary works, and particularly encouraging artists to produce works free of restrictions of conventional schools of painting, and among the painters Hogai KANO and Gaho HASHIMOTO were highly evaluated. The movement led to the establishment of Tokyo School of Art in 1989 and as a result, the Kangakai disappeared on its own.

[Original Japanese]