(b Edo [now Tokyo], June 21, 1856; d Kyoto, Dec 16, 1907).
Japanese painter . He was the leading Western-style (Yōga; see Japan, §VI, 5, (iv)) landscape painter of the Meiji period (1868–1912) and one of the founder-members of the Meiji Bijutsukai (Meiji Fine Arts Society, established 1889; later absorbed into the Taiheiyō Gakai [Pacific Painting Society]), the first association of Western-style painters in Japan. Asai was born into a samurai family retained by the Sakura clan. He was originally trained in Japanese bird-and-flower painting (kachōga) in the literati (Nanga or Bunjinga) style, but turned later to oil painting and at the age of 19 entered the Shōgidō, a private school of Western-style painting. The school had been opened in Tokyo the previous year by the artist Shinkurō Kunisawa (1847–77), who had studied painting under John Wilcolm in London.
When the government-sponsored Kōbu Bijutsu Gakkō (Technical Art School) was opened in Tokyo in ...