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date: 20 October 2019

Hosoi Kōtakulocked

(b Kyoto, 1658; d Edo [now Tokyo], 1735).
  • Stephen Addiss


(b Kyoto, 1658; d Edo [now Tokyo], 1735).

Japanese calligrapher and seal-carver. He was probably the most important Japanese master of Karayō (Chinese-style) calligraphy in the early 18th century. The son of a physician from Totomi Province (now in Shizuoka Prefect.), Kōtaku went to Edo as a youth to receive a Confucian education. He studied the Chinese classics with Sakai Zenken (d 1703) and also learnt a number of cultivated arts and skills such as poetry, painting, seal-carving, mathematics, astronomy and munitions. He also studied Karayō calligraphy with Kitajima Setsuzan (1636–97), who popularized in Japan the styles of Chinese calligraphers such as Wen Zhengming (see Wen family, §1) of the Yuan (1279–1368) and Ming (1368–1644) periods. Immigrant Ōbaku (Chin. Huangbo) Zen monks had brought this literati style, which became admired and practised partly because of the Tokugawa government’s strong support for Chinese scholarly and cultural attainments (see...

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