What is “Rimpa〜”


Have you ever heard the word “Rimpa〜” It seems to be quite recently that “Rimpa” came to be a commonly used word, yet it seems familiar now.
The term was apparently created by someone affiliated with the arts back in the Taisho era (1912-1926), but there is no entry for it in an art dictionary from the 60’s. It is only natural that people would not be as familiar with “Rimpa” as, for example, “The Tale of Genji,” which has been appreciated for over 1,000 years. However, the famous screen painting Fūjin-raijin-zu (Wind and Thunder Gods) by Tawaraya Sōtatsu (birth and death dates unknown) can be found in art textbooks and is widely known. Hon’ami Kōetsu (1558-1637) worked together with Sōtatsu on a number of projects including the Utaibon (book of Noh music) known as Sagabon. Kōetsu was granted the region of Takagamine by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1615, and now 400 years have passed since then.
“Rimpa” is a word made by combining the “Rin” character from the name of Ogata Kōrin (1658-1716), a painter of the style who came 100 years after Sōtatsu, and “Ha” which means faction or school. The Ogata family is related by marriage to the Tawaraya and Hon’ami families, and Kōrin studied Sōtatsu’s works well. Kōrin created works of art in the same style as the Fūjin-raijin-zu screen painting, and so it can be said that “Rimpa” was truly born from the works of Sōtatsu Kōetsu