Kato Bunrei (加藤文麗)

Bunrei KATO (1706 - April 17, 1782) was a Japanese painter in the middle of the Edo period. He was known as the master of Buncho TANI.

His name was Yasuto, childhood name was Yasutaka, azana (courtesy name) was Bunrei, go (shogo) (second name or alias) was Yosai, and common name was Orinosuke and Sakingo.

Bunrei was from such a family of pedigree that he was described in 'Kansei Choshu Shokafu' (genealogies of vassals in Edo bakufu). That is, he was the sixth son of Yasutsune KATO, the third lord of the Ozu Domain, Iyo Province, adopted by Yasushige KATO, one of the families, and inherited the family estate of three thousand koku (crop yields). Moreover, Yasumichi KATO, his son, inherited the family estate of the head family and became the lord of the Ozu Domain.

Bunrei liked painting since childhood and studied brushwork of the Kano School under the painters in Kano of Kobiki-cho, (first Tsunenobu KANO, later Chikanobu KANO) while training the martial art. He went to Edo and lived in the lord residence in Shimotani Takemachi. Bunrei and Rokkoku TANI, the father of Buncho TANI, had known each other, therefore Bunrei became the master in Buncho's boyhood and conveyed the Kano School. It is inferred that the name of Buncho was connected with Bunrei. Actually, Buncho described himself as disciple of Bunrei in the introduction document in 1821.

He died at the age of seventy-eight. He was buried in Korin-ji Temple in Azabu Hiroo, Edo. It is unusual that the high rank samurai like Bunrei left a name as Gajin painter.


He was ranked with yoriai (gathering) in April 1714.

He had an audience with the eighth Shogun Yoshimune TOKUGAWA in 1722.

He became a fire patrol in September 1731.

He became Otsukaiban (a person responsible for order and patrol in the battlefield) in May 1732.

He turned into a new head clerk in August 1743.

He became one of the Guards of Osaka-jo Castle in 1749.

He was promoted to the chief of the bodyguards in Saijo in July 1750.

He was appointed to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) in December 1750.

He resigned in 1753.


'Ryuko-zu' (painting of dragon and tiger)Hojo (guest house) of Kaisan-do Hall in Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto
'Daruma-zu' (painting of Bodhidharma)Saisho-ji Temple, Tokyo
'Sansui-zu' (painting of landscape)'"Meiwa Nanshu Gajo" (album of paintings), Tokyo National Museum

[Original Japanese]