Ganku was born in Kanazawa, Kaga Province. He worked first in a textile shop, then moved to Kyoto in 1773 and became a retainer of Prince Arisugawa. During the Tenmei era (1781-89) he executed wall paintings for the imperial palace. In 1804, he entered court service and was appointed Echizen no suke (honorary governor of Echizen Province), as he signed this painting. In 1809, he returned to Kanazawa to serve Lord Maeda and was commissioned to create paintings for Kaga Castle. In 1836 he was promoted to Ju-goi Echizen no kami (honorary lord of Echizen Province with the rank of Ju-goi ).
After training in both Kano school and Chinese styles, Ganku developed his signature mix of realism and sumptuous decorative elements. He is renowned for his paintings of animals, particulary of tigers. Another tiger painting by Ganku, was sold in these Rooms, 26 March, 2006, lot 194.