The Founder : Matsui Douchin
In 1577, Matsui Douchin moved from Yamatonokuni to Nanto and started making ink.
At that time, the Japanese ink making process was still in its infancy. He studied Enki-Toshoryou-Zoubokushiki, Rice-Seiboku-Hou, and Kuukai-Niteibou-Yuen-Seibokuhou and developed his own high quality ink making method.
The Edo Shogunate then gave him the official name of Tosanojou.
The 2nd successor : Matsui Doukei
There was an old plum tree in the corner of Matsui Doukei’s garden. Literati and calligraphers who came to Doukei’s house all praised the tree.
So Doukei named his ink-making laboratory Kobaien.
The 3rd successor : Matsui Douju
At the request of the Edo Shogunate, Matsui Douju was stationed in the capital city of Edo.
He received orders for ink from various nobles.
The 4th successor : Matsui Douetsu
Matsui Douetsu took responsibility for the work of the Koubeien in his father’s absence.
The 5th successor : Matsui Genki
Matsui Genki studied under Confucian scholar Ito Jinsai. He took the name Touan.
The 6th successor : Matsui Gentai
In 1739, Matsui Gentai went to Nagasaki with the permission of the Edo Shogunate and exchanged techniques with Dan Mu and Ren Junqi, ink makers from the Qing Dynasty.
Gentai then worked with his son, Gen’i, to develop the Koukaboku. He also wrote four Kobaienbokufus, Bokudan, and Bokuwa.
The 7th successor : Matsui Gen'i
Matsui Gen’i completed the production of Koukaboku. He also wrote a continuation of Kobaienbokufu, which he also completed.
Since then, Koukaboku become known as the representative ink of Kobaien.
The 8th successor Matsui Genko, The 9th successor Matsui Genngi
They were given the name Wasenroku by the Emperor of Japan and kept the traditions and techniques of Kobaien
The 10th successor, Matsui Gencho
Matsui Gencho had the official name of Tosaroku, but gave it back during the Meiji Restoration.
He then became the official ink producer of the Imperial Household Agency.
The 11th successor, Matsui Genjun
Matsui, Genjun served as the honorary mayor of Nara City. And he made Kobaien a corporation in 1915.
The 12th successor, Matsui Teitaro
Matsui Teitaro served as a member of the House of Peers and Honorary Mayor of Nara City. And he contributed to the development of the ink making industry.
The 13th successor, Matsui Genshin
Matsui Genshin kept the techniques and traditions of Kobaien alive during the turbulent social climate of World War II.
The 14th successor, Matsui Gensho
Matsui Gensho contributed to the development of ink making in Nara.