Tosa Mitsuoki

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  • Born: 1617/10/23
  • Died: 1691/9/25
  • Other Names: 常昭 (Joushou); 藤満丸 (Fujimitsumaru)
  • Japanese: 土佐光起 (Tosa Mitsuoki)

Tosa Mitsuoki was a painter of the Tosa school, and is credited with reviving the school in the early Edo period.

He was born in Sakai, and moved with his father, Tosa Mitsunori, to Kyoto in 1634. At the age of 38, on 1654/3/10, he was granted the court rank of Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade (従五位下, jugoike), and appointed Lieutenant of the Left Palace Guards (左近衛将監, Sakonoe shôkan). He was also made head court painter, a post which had been vacant since the 1569 death of Tosa Mitsumoto, and revived the Tosa house/school, something his father Mitsunori had been desiring for a long time. At the same time, he took the tonsure, taking the monastic name Jôshô.

As construction was being performed on the palace in the Jôô era (1652-55), Mitsuoki produced a number of paintings for walls and fusuma (shôhekiga), and worked as a court painter in other capacities. Studying the Academic bird-and-flower paintings of Li Anzhong, he became quite proficient at delicate depictions of birds; taking in elements of the style of the Kanô school, he was also widely active in producing handscrolls, byôbu paintings, hanging scroll paintings, and works in other formats. He also systematized the Tosa school style, writing it down in the Honchô gahô daiden.

He is buried at Hyakumanben Chion-ji in Kyoto.


  • "Tosa Mitsuoki." Asahi Nippon rekishi jinbutsu jiten (朝日日本歴史人物事典, "Asahi Encyclopedia of Japanese Historical Figures"). Accessed via, 24 November 2010.