Seiju entered Angado Gajuku, a private art school run by Fuko Matsumoto. Together with Gyoshu Hayami, who was a fellow pupil there, he studied diligently and played a major role in the innovation of nihonga. He took part in the foundation of Sekiyokai, a group led by Shiko Imamura. In 1921, he became a member of Saiko Inten. In addition to limpid landscapes overflowing with poetic sentiment, he pursued a new modern nihonga blending realism and ornamentation.

A cat that has hunted its prey is walking stealthily on a lukewarm spring night with the fragrance of plum blossoms drifting. An owl is watching the cat from above on the tree with its eyes wide open. The picture was inspired by Harunobu Suzuki’s Plum Tree at Night (the late 1760s) and the cat motif was based on Nezumi-no-Soshi (The Mouse Story) of the Muromachi period. In order to establish a new style of nihonga, Seiju and other artists of the Saiko Inten focused on the Rimpa style, which was richly ornate. Traces of such studies can be identified in the composition, the way the flowers are portrayed, and the “pouring” technique (a technique in which a second paint is poured over the first paint before it dries so as to achieve a blurred effect) employed for the plum tree. After being submitted to an exhibition supporting Prince Shotoku in 1930, the following year, this painting was submitted to an exhibition of nihonga held in Berlin, showing that Seiju was confident of it.


  • Title: Spring Night
  • Creator: OMODA Seiju
  • Date: 1930
  • Physical Dimensions: w68.8 x h156.4 cm
  • Media (Japanese): 彩色、絹、軸
  • Media: color on silk, hanging scroll
  • Type: Japanese-style painting
  • External Link: http://www.pref.spec.ed.jp/momas/

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