Taiwa Matsuoka’s Timeline

1894 (Birth)

March 27; Matsuoka is born in Hifu, Haibara district, Uda County, Nara Prefecture, Japan (home of the ancient Uda-Nurinobe)


1914 (Age 20)

March; Graduates from Nara Normal School


1914 – 1917 (Age 20 – 23)

Attends the Fine Arts Education Division of Tokyo Fine Arts School,


1916 (Age 22)

Fall; Makes his first entry in the third edition of the Nika contest and receives the Nika Award “Children in the Village,” size 25, “From the Mountain Top,” size 40


1917 (Age 23)

Spring; Enters pencil sketches for the Kofu-kai exhibit “Self Portrait,” size 6, “Scenery,” size 20 (purchased by the Imperial Household Ministry) Fall; Enters the fourth Nika contest “Scenery at Sunset,” size 25


1919 – 24 (Age 25 – 30)

Attends the Sculpture Department of Tokyo Fine Arts School Audits classes at the Lacquer Art Department (lacquer art history, production methods in lacquer art, chemistry for crafts), studies lacquer art techniques from an Urushi artist


1920 (Age 26)

First exhibit of Shinko-yoga (Western Fine Art)-kai (Association) established by Matsuoka (along with leading young artists in the metropolitan Tokyo area) in the previous year.
There are twenty members, including Torao Makino, Tokuro Katada, Itaru Tanabe, Yasugoro Ataka, Soshichi Takama, Kenkichi Kodera and Masao Matsuoka. The group dissolves around 1925, after the Great Kanto Earthquake.
* There is a photo taken with the members (The Art Collection Book). Enters over twenty pieces in Shinko Oil-painting Association exhibits between the years 1920 and 1925


1922 (Age 28)

Enters the fourth Imperial Art Center Exhibit (Imperial Exhibit) “Spring Day in Southern Country,” size 40


1926 (Age 32)

Spring: Enters the Prince Shotoku Memorial Exhibit
“Ranch in the Forest,” size 50, “Akagi Forest,” size 50


1928 (Age 34)

Becomes a member at the Craft Department of Shundai Art, and releases art pieces such as the Urushi Craft Iron Cloisonne


1929 (Age 35)

April: Begins teaching at the Metropolitan Secondary School (seven-year course) as it begins its inaugural school year


1930 (Age 36)

After entering an oil painting entitled “Horse in the Highland” in the eleventh Imperial Exhibit, Matsuoka begins concentrating on the study of Urushi art.


1932 (Age 38)

Releases three pieces of Colored Urushi works through the Shundai Craft Department.


1934 (Age 40)

November; Holds the first one-man exhibit for Urushi Artworks
Sixteen artworks ranging from size 8 to size 15 (Japan Industrial Club)


1935 (Age 41)

January: Declaration of Independence for Urushi-e” in the Atelier magazine, Vol.12 No. 1.


1937 (Age 43)

Spring: Showcases Urushi craft and fine artworks at the first exhibit for the Japan Urushi-e Association, established the previous year (with Matsuoka as the leader and several other colleagues), and receives rave reviews at the gallery in Ueno-Matsuzakaya; four exhibits are held until the end of WWII.
Summer: Produces the base work of “Scarlet Peonies” (67 x 123 in.), a set of six artworks


1938 (Age 44)

Fall: Wins an award for a Urushi-e decorative tray at the second Ministry of Education and Culture Exhibit. The winning piece is entitled “Flower Day Group* and Thousand-Stitch Belt,”** depicting a streetscape of Ginza during the war*A women’s charity volunteer group raising funds for families of fallen soldiers during WWII.

**Well-wishing belt for soldiers during WWII”


1939 (Age 45)

Fall: Wins an award for a Colored Urushi quad folding screen at the third Ministry of Education and Culture Exhibit. Titled “Kusurigari,” it depicts the kusurigari (or medicinal herb and animal hunting event) in Udano in 611 AD.


1940 (Age 46)

Spring: Completes a cabin mural painting for the new cruise liner “Kasugamaru” (European cruise line) of Yusen, requested by the Mitsubishi Shipyard. “Red Corridor at Kasuga Shrine in Nara” (90.6 x 157.5 in.)


1942 (Age 48)

Completes cabin mural paintings requested by the Mitsubishi Shipyard, entitled “Shirataka Castle,” size 100, and three Urushi-black paintings
These large Colored Urushi mural paintings draw attention as the first decorative paintings of a creative nature in Japan.
After WWII, continues to work on the six-part “Scarlet Peonies,” which was begun during the war, and completes the project around 1955. Suffers from gastric ulcer during this period


1955 (Age 61)

Establishes the Japan Urushi-e Association, and holds its first exhibit (at Mitsukoshi’s main store in Nihonbashi)
Adding new members to the group during the war, continues to hold annual exhibits until 1963


1957 (Age 63)

Spring: Retires from a teaching position after an open surgery for gastric ulcer


1963 (Age 69)

June: Holds an one-man exhibit of his Urushi Artworks at Mitsukoshi Osaka, including more than twenty works of art


1965 (Age 71)

Spring: Creates a Urushi Artwork mural painting entitled “Crimson Foliage in Tatsuta” (73 x 73 in.) on the fifth-floor lobby of the newly constructed Nara Government Office, requested by the Kinki Construction Department


1967 (Age 73)

Spring: Creates an Urushi Artwork entitled “Peony Painting” (79 x 315 in.) for a banquet hall at Echo Hotel Osaka
Continues to work on the piece intermittently until the following year?
* Photo, the Art Collection Book
Dissolves the Japan Urushi-e Association


1968 – 73 (Age 74 – 79)

Works on a series of artworks, “Scenery of Yamato”


1973 (Age 79)

September: Holds an exhibit portraying transitions from oil to Urushi Art at Ginza Matsuya Gallery, showing forty-one works of art
Publishes an art collection book titled “Taiwa Matsuoka”


1975 (Age 81)

April: Last artwork, Double Cherry Blossoms, size 4



February 5 Matsuoka dies at age 84



Sixty-five artworks are entered at the exhibit entitled “Unique Fine Artists of Modern Nara – Paths of 6 Artists,” which is held March 1 – 30 at the Nara Prefectural Museum of Art
Two artworks “Lineage of Realism II” and “Miniature Drawings of the Taisho Era (1912 – 1925)” are exhibited
“Old Woman” and “Scenery at Sunset,” October 30 – December 7 at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and December 16 – January 25, 1987 at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto



June 12: “Sketch Collections of Masao Matsuoka” is published



September 28: Accepts an endowment of artworks to Haibara (136 artworks)
Thirty artworks are entered at the exhibit, “Masao Matsuoka and Artists of Haibara,” September 29 – October 11 at the Haibara Town Integrated Center.



Seven artworks entered at the “Art History of Meguro Exhibit,” March 12 –April 10 at the Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo
“Children in the Village,” “Scenery at Sunset,” “Spring Day in Southern Country,” “Horse in the Highland,” “Scarlet Peonies,” “Ice Tower,” “Isonokamifuru”



March 27: “Art Collections of Masao Matsuoka” is published