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Katayama Bokuyo

At the young age of twenty-seven, Katayama Bokuyo_ was awarded the grand prize at Japan's annual Imperial Juried Exhibition in 1927. The following year, he submitted a painting showing a weasel nearly hidden in a tangled bed of flowering fishmint (dokudani) deep in the forest. The judges were so impressed that he was given the status of mukansa, literally "non-vetted," meaning that henceforth any painting he submitted to the annual exhibition would be automatically included.

Bokuyo_ championed a style of painting collectively known as nihon-ga (literally, Japanese style painting) to distinguish it from Western-style oil painting, which was gaining popularity in Japan. Nihon-ga artists used traditional subjects, formats and materials, but their approach often reveals some influence from the West.