Artist Yanagisawa Kien (Born 1704) was born in Edo. He was a Japanese calligrapher and painter. Together with Sakaki Hyakusen and Gion Nankai, they pioneered the Japanese literati painting (Bunjinga or Nanga). Kien was born into the influential family of Yanagisawa, who ruled the domain of Kōriyama. He was born at the residence of Kofu Domain and his real given name was Satotomo. Just like many painters of the time, he began by studying as a child under a Kanô school painter, studying the Kano painting style from eight years old. From his early years, he received elite education in military and lterary arts from the domain. He received a Confucian education in Edo, where one of his teachers was Ogyū Sorai, who was a famous calligrapher and Confucian scholar of that time. He also received painting lessons from a minor master of the Japanese calligrapher and painter.
Kien studied literal things from Confucianist Ogyu Sorai and other illustrious figures. However, at one time Kien angrily moved out of his master's atelier, and terminated the relationship. He claimed that modern methods of painting were too stultified. He decided to take two ancient Chinese masters, Zhang Sengyou and Wu Daozi as his teachers. Kien studied Chinese painting styles. His military arts and cultures were at levels higher than that of a master. He was a genius artist and his art still cause a lot of excitement among collectors to date. He participated in many art shows and exhibitions where his art faired very well.