Amita Co. artists: Minai, Torahiko Kanamori, Takeshi

Tsukada Shukyo [塚田秀鏡] (1848 ~ 1918)

Tsukada Shukyo

Tsukada Shukyo was born on September 14, 1848, in Edo (today Tokyo) under the name of Renzaburō (錬三郎). His father, Dohi Yoshichika (土肥義周), was a Saya (鞘) maker and worked for the Akimoto clan (秋元氏), the daimyō of the Tatebayashi domain (館林藩), located in Kōzuke Province (today Gunma Prefecture). In 1859, at the age of 11, Shukyo was adopted by a swordsmith Tsukada Naogami (塚田直鏡).
At the age of 15 Shukyo began to study the metalwork (kinkō) craft under Katsumi Kansai (勝見完斎, 1831~1896). He then studied painting under Shibata Zeshin (柴田是真, 1807~1891). His biological father, Dohi Yoshichika, died when Shukyo was 20. The same year Shukyo became a student of an engraver Kanō Natsuo (加納夏雄).
As a tribute to his masters, Zeshin and Natsuo, Shukyo took one kanji from the name of each and combined them to his "Shin'yūsai" (真雄斎). Shukyo had several other pseudonyms: "Kitsusensai" (橘選斎), "Shin'isai" (真惟斎) and "Kōsai" (香斎). At the age of 26, he carved a sword for the Emperor Meiji. After the Haito Edict (1876), that prohibited wearing swords, Shukyo received orders from the Home Ministry. In 1886 Shukyo had the honour of demonstrating his craft in front of the Emperor.
In 1881 Shukyo presented his work of a carved crab on iron at the 2nd National Industrial Exhibition held in Tokyo. From 1890s Tsukada Shukyo participated in several world expositions: World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893), Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1900), Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, 1904), Japan-British Exhibition (London, 1915) and others, winning several awards.

Cigarette case by Tsukada Shukyo. Shibuichi and gold. Tokyo National Museum.

Many of the Shukyo's works were small items, typical of the time, such as cigarette cases and miniature vases that were made both for export and practical use.
On December 18, 1913, Tsukada Shukyo became an Imperial Household Artist (帝室技芸員, Teishitsu Gigei-in), who is an artist who was officially appointed by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan to create works of art for the Tokyo Imperial Palace and other imperial residences. The system came into being during the Meiji period in 1890 and was discontinued after the end of World War II. From 1890 to 1944, only 79 individuals were appointed to the position, including Tsukada Shukyo, who also is one of the only two engravers in this list (the other one is his teacher, Kanō Natsuo). Tsukada was also promoted to the rank of Jushichii (従七位), one of the ranks in the Japanese rank system of the time.

Tsukada Shukyo's grave in Yanaka Cemetery, engraved with 帝室技芸員従七位塚田秀鏡墓 ("the tomb of the Imperial House Artist, Jushichii, Tsukada Shukyo").

Tsukada Shukyo died on December 29, 1918, at the age of 71 at his home in Yushima, Tokyo. He was buried in Yanaka Cemetery (block 9, grave 26).

Examples (from the web)