Morikazu Kumagai (1880-1977, Japanese) was an oil and watercolor painter and recluse who remained within the confines of his home for 30 years. The son of a silk merchant and mayor of Gifu, Morikazu left for Tokyo in 1900 at age 17 to become a painter. In 1904, he graduated and in 1905 he went to the island of Sakhalin and drew the life there. During his lifetime he was a member of various artist groups and exhibited his works regularly. In 1967 his works were exhibited in Paris to wide acclaim. Even though awarded the Japanese Order of Culture, he declined acceptance based upon modesty. In 1976, a museum was established in his home town to hold his works.
Morikazu’s style is that of muted tones. His cat paintings are primarily in the colors of brown, red, black and white. His lines are simple and could be called understood as naïve. Undoubtedly, he was a cat lover, capturing his own pets in his numerous paintings.
Morikazu died at 97 in Tokyo.