Yamaguchi Zuiu

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  • Japanese: 山口 瑞雨 (Yamaguchi Zuiu)

Yamaguchi Zuiu was a painter from Tochigi prefecture who taught art in Okinawa from 1896 to 1912.

In 1908, he founded the Tansei association, which produced Nihonga paintings of Okinawan subjects. Yamaguchi submitted a number of his own paintings to exhibitions held by the Japan Painting Association (Nihon bijutsu kyôkai).

Yamaguchi submitted a six-fold screen painting to the sixth Bunten exhibition in 1912 depicting a scene of the Ryukyuan king. The work was admitted into the first class of Nihonga works in the exhibition. While a number of Okinawan artists were showing in major national exhibitions at this time, Yamaguchi was in a meaningful sense appropriating their position, representing Okinawa but doing so as a Japanese person, with works in a Japanese style. The screen painting was likely based on direct observation of the Ryukyu investiture crown, Engaku-ji, and other elements of Ryukyu Kingdom heritage; it was harshly criticized, however, by Okinawan art critics such as Ryûkyû Shimpô writer Sueyoshi Bakumontô who asserted that it didn't reflect Ryukyuan spirit and was totally lacking in Ryukyuan character.


  • Junko Kobayashi, "The Demise of Ryukyuan Painting," Okinawan Art in its Regional Context symposium, University of East Anglia, Norwich, 10 Oct 2019.