Ogata Korin

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Ogata Kôrin was an Edo period painter after whom the Rinpa school/style ("School of [Kô]rin") takes its name. He is among the most celebrated painters of the period, and a number of his works have been designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.

Kôrin was born and raised in Kyoto. His father, Ogata Sôken, died in 1687, leaving the family home to Kôrin and his brother Ogata Kenzan. Kenzan would also go on to become a celebrated artist - especially in the fields of poetry, calligraphy, and pottery.

Kôrin worked to revive the style of late 16th century painters Tawaraya Sôtatsu and Hon'ami Kôetsu, and produced recreations of a number of their famous works, including screens (byôbu) of Matsushima, and of the gods of wind and thunder, Fûjin & Raijin. It was from this style, incorporating brightly colored mineral pigments, gold leaf, and tarashikomi (wet bled colors), that the "Rinpa" style later emerged, in emulation of Kôrin's works.

Kôrin was forced to sell his family's house in 1696. By 1704, he was living in the Ginza neighborhood of Edo, but he returned to Kyoto, and to more direct collaborations with Kenzan, in 1709.

He enjoyed the patronage of the Sakai clan of Himeji han, who as a result amassed a sizable collection of Kôrin's works. Sakai Hôitsu, a member of that clan, made extensive use of this collection as he revived, promoted, and expanded Rinpa, creating his own works in emulation of Kôrin's, and producing publications such as the 1817 Kôrin hyakuzu ("One Hundred Pictures by Kôrin"), which contributed to popularizing the style.[1]

He is buried alongside his brother Ogata Kenzan at Senmyô-in, a sub-temple of Myôken-ji in Kyoto.[2]

Notable Works

  • Fûjin/Raijin Screens, a pair of folding screens owned by the Tokyo National Museum. Designated an Important Cultural Property, these screens were produced in emulation of a pair of Fûjin/Raijin Screens by Sôtatsu, and are closely similar in composition, content, and style. Kôrin's Fûjin/Raijin Screens are among the most famous of all Japanese artworks, and are frequently referenced, used, or parodied by advertising campaigns and the like, as well as by contemporary artists such as Yamamoto Tarô.
  • Irises, a pair of folding screens owned by the Nezu Museum in Tokyo.
A depiction of purple irises which flow in a curved or wave pattern across two screens, around a low, wooden, eight-fold bridge which crosses through the iris pond. Long owned by the Nishi Honganji (up into the Meiji period), which may have commissioned the work originally; Kôrin is known to have spent much time at Nishi Honganji, where he frequently watched Noh with court noble Nijô Tsunahira. The screens were purchased at auction in 1913 by Nezu Kaichirô, and have remained in the Nezu collection ever since. They are displayed at the Nezu Museum every May.[3]
  • Red and White Plum Blossoms, a pair of folding screens owned by the MOA Museum of Art in Atami, Shizuoka prefecture. They depict plum trees with white blossoms on one side, and deep red blossoms on the other side of the image, divided by a large stream, in black or deep blue, with the ripples of the water painted in gold.


  1. "Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hôitsu, 1761-1828." Exhibition gallery labels & guided tour. Japan Society. 13 October 2012.
  2. Plaques on-site at Myôken-ji.; stone markers at Kan'ei-ji in Tokyo, however, claim to mark the site of his grave at that temple, however.
  3. Gallery labels, Nezu Museum, May 2017.