Ikuo Hirayama (Hirayama Ikuo 平山 郁夫, 15 June 1930 - 2 December 2009), was a Japanese Nihonga painter. Born in Setoda-chō, Hiroshima Prefecture, he was famous in Japan for Silk Road paintings of dreamy desert landscapes in Iran, Iraq, and China.
Life and Work
In 1952, he graduated from the Tokyo School of Art, or what is today's Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (popularly known as "Geidai"), and became a disciple of Maeda Seison. Hirayama also served as President of his alma mater twice (1989–95 and 2001–05).
He produced a series of paintings depicting the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. A hibakusha, he portrayed the A-bomb attack on Hiroshima. He was also active in the preservation of the cultural heritage of the world (e.g., the Bamiyan Buddhas) and is internationally appreciated for his efforts in this sphere. Hirayama was awarded the French Légion d'honneur Order in 1996 and Japan's Order of Cultural Merit in 1998 amongst others.
Legacy and Response
He was sometimes criticized for his profit making activities at the time when he held a position of President of a national university. Some (would-be) connoisseurs even cast doubts upon the authenticity of his highly profitable artworks, claiming that his wife and others made them under his name. He was a patron of historical institutions and gave £500,000 pounds to the British Museum for the creation of a conservation studio specializing in Eastern pictorial art, which was opened in 1994 and named after him  He had a studio in Kamakura, Kanagawa. There is a museum dedicated to the artist in Setoda which also has an English Web site at .
Ikuo Hiryama actively collected material relating to the historical silk road. His collections included Chinese and Gandhara sculpture, Sasanian and Central Asian silver ware, toilet trays and coins, in total at least 222 pieces. His collection is particularly notable for its collection of Gandharan art from Pakistan and Afghanistan. His collection of Central Asian coins was small, containing only 101 items, though these included one of the best preserved of Kanishka I's Buddha coins as well as other important examples 
- Silk Road Art and Archaeology Special Volume: Studies in Silk Road Coins and Culture, Kamakura 1997
- Tanabe, K (2000) Gandharan and Silk Road Arts: The Hiryama Ikuo Collection, Catalogue of an Exhibition at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts
- Tanabe, K (1993) Silk Road Coins: the Hiryama Collection
- "Ikuo Hirayama sought solace on the road". C.B.Liddell. 2007-09-27.