Kawashima Jinbei II
His childhood name was Benjirô (弁次郎); from an early age, he was immersed in the world of textiles.
He took over his father's business, the Ueda-ya, upon his father's death in 1879. Jinbei experimented with creating textiles as art objects, including reproductions of paintings as tapestries, and submitted some of these works to major competitions and exhibitions. One of these pieces attracted the attention of Senior Vice Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, Viscount Shinagawa Yajirô, with whose favor, Jinbei was then able to travel to Europe in 1885 to 1886. There, he studied textiles at Gobelins in France, among other major cultural centers, including Berlin. He returned to Japan after roughly a year and a half overseas, in order to take part in producing works for the Imperial Palace. After his return to Japan, Jinbei contributed significantly to the improvement of Japanese textile production methods, introducing new techniques, materials, and equipment he obtained or learned about in Europe. He was particularly influential in the advancement of techniques in hand-woven brocade, including tsuzure nishiki and kara nishiki, and is seen as a pioneer in the expansion of Nishijin production to adapt to foreign markets.
He produced numerous tapestries and other now-famous works, including a reproduction of Itô Jakuchû's "Plants and Animals" scrolls, and won numerous prizes at both domestic and overseas exhibitions.
Though he was quite successful as an artist, and is regarded today as quite significant both for his artistic accomplishments and his contributions to improved textile production techniques, Jinbei II does not have a reputation as a skilled businessman. Though he contributed to the Nishijin district as a whole with his introduction of new techniques, etc., his own family's business did not do particularly well under his control, financially.
Jinbei later passed on the family business to his son Kawashima Jinbei III, who in turn passed it on to his son, Kawashima Jinbei IV. Jinbei IV formally re-established it as a corporation, Kawashima Jinbee Shôten, in 1938. The company later changed its name to Kawashima Orimono KK, and remains active today.
- Conant, Ellen. "Cut from Kyoto Cloth: Takeuchi Seihô and his Artistic Milieu." Impressions 33 (2012). p75.
- "Kawashima Jinbee." Hyakka jiten Mypedia 百科事典マイペディア. Hitachi Solutions, 2010.
- "Kawashima Jinbee (2-dai)." Asahi Nihon rekishi jinbutsu jiten 朝日日本歴史人物事典. Asahi Shimbun.
- "Kawashima Orimono." Hyakka jiten Mypedia 百科事典マイペディア. Hitachi Solutions, 2010.