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Toru Asano

(b Tokyo, June 23, 1891; d Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Dec 20, 1929).

Japanese painter and collector. Son of the progressive journalist Ginkō Kishida (1833–1905), he decided to leave school when he was 15, became a Christian and devoted himself to church activities. At the same time he painted and struggled with the decision of whether to live as a Christian or as a painter. In 1908 he entered the Aoibashi Western Painting Study Centre and studied plein-air painting under Seiki Kuroda (1866–1924), exhibiting two years later at the fourth Bunten, a show sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education. From the end of 1911 to early 1912 he was inspired by the work of modern French painters, which he discovered through the magazine Shirakaba (‘White birch’) and through illustrated books. The Self-portrait Wearing a Coat (1912; Tokyo, priv. col., see Hijikata, ed., 1980, pl. 1) was clearly painted under the influence of Vincent van Gogh and Tsukiji Settlement...