Top Page

1895 - 1933

Koga was born the son of a Buddhist priest in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka prefecture in 1895. Hoping to become an artist he went to Tokyo to join the Taiheiyo Gakai Kenkyujo (Pacific Art Society Institute) in 1912. The next year, he entered the Nihon Suisaiga Kenkyujo (Japan Watercolor Painting Research Institute), where he studied under Ishii Hakutei. His works were selected for Taiheiyo Gakai and Suisaiga exhibitions. In 1915 he returned in Fukuoka and entered the priesthood. His sketches and postcard pictures in those days reveal the influence of the style of Takehisa Yumeji. In 1919 he was deeply moved at Takehisa's exhibition "for women and children." In 1920 he studied religious tone by imitating frescos by Cézanne and Renaissance artists. He was awarded the Nika prize for "Maiso" [Burial]. From around that time, his works began to exhibit elements of abstract expression such as that of Picasso and Laurencin. In October that year he organized the avant-garde society, Action, with more than ten artists, including Kanbara Tai. The society was dissolved not long after, and Koga began producing surrealistic works under the influence of Paul Klee. From 1927 to 1930 he became interested in commercial art, undertaking various poster making and bookbinding jobs. Recognizing the importance of urbanization and mechanization, he read science magazines and made reproductions on the basis of Fernand Léger's illustrations of machinery. Koga's illustrations appeared in Kodomo no kuni [Children's Land] from the December 1931 issue to the June 1932 issue.