About Ikuo Hirayama

About Ikuo Hirayama


Enrolling in the Tokyo School of Fine Arts

With classmates of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (1947)

After completing studies at Tadanoumi Junior High School in four years, he entered a preparatory course in the Department of Japanese Painting at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (present-day Tokyo University of the Arts). He chose this school following the emphatic recommendations of his great-uncle (grandmother’s elder brother), Nanzan Shimizu, an engraver by profession. Hirayama lived with Nanzan and was instructed in art theory and painter preparedness, etc. by Nanzan.
At art school, he was mentored by professors such as Kokei Kobayashi and Yukihiko Yasuda. Upon graduation in 1952, he became junior assistant of a newly-appointed professor, Seison Maeda, at the renowned Tokyo University of the Arts and later became an assistant.

Those years of his life may seem idyllic. However, later in life, he mentioned feeling inadequate at the time because he was the youngest in his grade and had not especially studied painting techniques. Furthermore, partly because of the generally pessimistic atmosphere of the time epitomized by the “destruction of Japanese art” theory that was in vogue, at one time he even thought of abandoning the hope of becoming a painter and aspired to become a researcher instead. However, he recovered his confidence after he was kindly persuaded by Shinichi Tani, a professor of Japanese art history and graduated with second highest standing in his level in 1952, and his works received wide acclaim and sold well. (It’s interesting to note here that Michiko Matsuyama, who later became his wife, was the top student that year.)

“Granduncle Shimizu,” as he was affectionately called by his family, was the brother of Ikuo Hirayama’s grandmother. He served as a professor of the Department of Engraving of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and retired from the office in 1945. He had served as a Court Artist since 1934. He encouraged Ikuo Hirayama to be a painter and explained the importance of education in classics, literature and philosophy in addition to training in painting.

With classmates of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (1947)

Notebooks of reading

Years of Tokyo University of Arts

A record of meditation

With his wife Michiko

A notebook of French

With his masters