(b Kyoto, March 3, 1844; d Kyoto, February 20, 1895).
Japanese painter, book illustrator and art educator. Born the fourth son of Yasuda Shirobei, a Kyoto moneylender, the young Bairei was adopted into the Kōno family. In 1852 he began his artistic training under the Maruyama-school painter, Nakajima Raishō (1796–1871). After Raishō’s death, Bairei studied with the Shijō-school master Shiokawa Bunrin (1808–77). He also studied Chinese literature and calligraphy with Confucian scholars. In 1873 his talent was officially recognized when he was included among the painters selected to show at the second Kyoto Exhibition.
In 1878 he and the painter Mochizuki Gyokusen (1834–1913) successfully petitioned the governor of Kyoto Prefecture to establish the Kyoto Prefectural Painting School (Kyōto Fu Gagakkō) in 1880. Bairei was appointed instructor in the Kanō and Tōyō Sesshū styles of ink painting (suibokuga; see Japan §VI 4., (iii)), but in 1881 he resigned his post to open a private art academy. Among his students were ...