Shugetsu Tokan

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  • Japanese: 秋月等観 (Shuugetsu Toukan)

Shûgetsu Tôkan was a leading Satsuma-based ink painter of the Muromachi period. His school of painting became one of the dominant ones in Edo period Satsuma.

Shûgetsu studied ink painting directly under the great Zen painter Sesshû. He also traveled to Ming Dynasty China, bringing back new styles, skills, and insights.

Shûgetsu had many disciples, but the systems of lineages of disciples used in many other parts of the realm was not adopted in Satsuma. Rather, Shûgetsu's style spread more widely, and more organically. By the 18th century, the Kanô school and many of the other chief schools of painting in Edo and Kyoto had arguably become rather stagnant, as they reproduced images from copy-books (funpon or tehon) rather than creatively, dynamically, exploring new forms and subjects. By contrast, Satsuma artists did not rely upon copy-books, and did not adhere strictly to the style of their teachers; as a result, at least according to Kagoshima perspectives, they were more dynamic.