Sakai Hoitsu (酒井抱一)

Hoitsu SAKAI (August 1, 1761 - January 4, 1829) was a painter in the late Edo period. Gon Daisozu (junior prelate). His real name was Tadanao, his childhood name was Zenji, his common name was Eihachi and his courtesy name was Kishin. He also called himself Oson and Ukean. His pseudonym for kyoka (comic tanka poem) was Shiriyake no Sarundo. He was a younger brother of Tadazane SAKAI, head of the Himeji clan.

Brief Personal History

He was born at a secondary residence of the Himeji clan in Kanda Ogawa-machi as the second son of Tadamochi SAKAI who was the heir of the clan. He attained his manhood at the age of 17 and received 1,000 koku. The residence of the clan in front of Ote-mon Gate was then like a cultural salon under the patronage of his older brother Tadazane, who was known as a master of tea ceremony.
Hoichi also showed his talent since he was young, for haikai (seventeen-syllable verse), kyoka, ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints) and so on, and at the age of 30 published his verse collection 'Keikyokankuso.'
After the death of his older bother, he became a Buddhist priest at the age of 37, following Monnyo who was a high priest of the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple, and later came to adore Korin OGATA. Studying and commending the achievements of Korin, he held a memorial exhibition of Korin's work on July 8, 1815, 100 years after his death.
(Two volumes of "Korin Hyakuzu" [One Hundred Paintings by Korin], cut-down version of the exhibition catalog, is a basic material for the research of the Rinpa school of that time. This catalog was later exported to Europe and influenced Japonism)
Hoichi greatly developed his talent for painting by seeing the excellent works of Korin at the exhibition. He then established his own painting style filled with chic and emotional atmosphere, which was called the Edo Rinpa school, positively adopting the techniques used by the Maruyama Shijo school, Tosa school, Nanpin school or Jakuchu ITO as well as taking over the decorative style of the Rinpa school.

His representative work, a silver folding screen of 'Fuusokazu' (commonly known as the title of 'Natsuakikusa zu Byobu' [Flowering Plants of Summer and Autumn]) used to be in the possession of the Hitotsubashi Tokugawa family and is painted on the back of a gold folding screen 'Fujin Raijin zu" (The Wind and Thunder Gods) (Important Cultural Property) by Korin who had painted it inspired by the masterpiece of Sotatsu TAWARAYA (now they are separately mounted for the purpose of preservation). It corresponds beautifully with 'Fujin Raijin zu,' with autumn plants in wind on the back of the Wind God and summer plants in rain on the back of the Thunder God.

His disciples include Kiitsu SUZUKI and Koson IKEDA. He was also close to Nanpo OTA, Buncho TANI, Hosai KAMEDA and Danjuro ICHIKAWA the seventh and regularly visited Mukojima-Hyakkaen Gardens and Yaozen restaurant.

He died in a hermitage called Ukean in Shitaya Negishi. His tomb is at the Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple (designated as a historical monument by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government).

Major Works
"Fuusokazu" (commonly called Natsuakikusa zu Byobu) - property of Tokyo National Museum, Important Cultural Property
"Tsuki ni Akikusa zu Byobu" (Folding Screen of the Moon and Autumn Plants) - Important Cultural Property
"Shiroshusuji Baiju Harukusa Moyo Kakie Kosode" (White Satin Kosode [Kimono with short sleeves] of Plum Tree and Spring Plants) - property of National Museum of Japanese History, Important Cultural Property
"Hato zu Byobu" (Folding Screen of Waves) - property of Seikado Bunko Art Museum
"Sanjurokkasen zu Shikishi Haritsuke Byobu" (Folding Screen of Thirty-six Master Poets) - property of the Price Collection
"Yatsuhashi zu Byobu" (Folding Screen of Eight-Planked Bridge) - property of Idemitsu Museum of Arts
"Kohakubai zu Byobu" (Folding Screen of Red and White Plum Blossoms) - property of Idemitsu Museum of Arts
"Shikikacho zu Byobu" (Folding Screen of Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons) - property of Yomei Bunko Foundation
"Junikagetsu Kacho zu" (Flowers and Birds of the Twelve Months) - property of The Museum of the Imperial Collections, Sannomaru Shozokan
"Junikagetsu Kacho zu" (Flowers and Birds of the Twelve Months) - property of The Price Collection
"Shikikacho zukan" (Scroll of Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons) - property of Tokyo National Museum
"Etekagami" (Collection of Paintings) - property of Seikado Bunko Art Museum
"Hisetsu Shirasagi zu" (commonly called Ashi ni Shirasagi zu [Reeds and Egrets]) - property of Yamatane Museum of Art
"Tsukiyo Kaede zu" (Maple Trees at a Moonlit Night) - property of Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art
"Hibari ni Harukusa zu" (Larks and Spring Plants) - property of Himeji City Museum of Art, around 1817
"Harima Muro-mojin Shinji Toka no Yujo Gyoretsu zu" (Procession of Prostitutes Singing Boatman's Songs in a Shinto Ritual of Muro-myojin Shrine in Harima Province) - property of Himeji City Museum of Art
"Matsukaze Murasame zu" (Lady Matsukaze and Murasame) - Hosomi Museum
"Seifu Shufu zu Byobu" (Folding Screen of Green and Red Maple Trees) - private collection

[Original Japanese]