Although Tsune entered the army cadet school at his own will, the grueling training proved to be too demanding for his delicate constitution. In 1904, he contracted tuberculosis, for which proper treatment had not yet been established, and had to drop out of school. Although he was initially devastated, the sketching and watercolor painting he did at the location he moved to for healing led to the blossoming of his talent. He later learned how to create western-style paintings and went onto actively pursue the path of an artist.
Tsune, who became a new star in the art world, was offered an art studio and living space in 1911 by Mr. and Mrs. Soma, the founder of Nakamura-ya, a food manufacturing company (at the time). In 1913, he began painting the couple’s eldest daughter Toshiko as a model. For Tsune, Toshiko became his muse as well as the object of his affection. He asked for her hand in marriage in 1915 but was vehemently opposed by her parents. He soon left the art studio.
In 1916, Tsune moved into a residential housing and art studio in Shimo-Ochiai, Tokyo. His masterpiece, Portrait of Vasilii Yaroschenko, whose model was the blind Russian poet (1890-1952), drew great acclaim not only in Japan but also in Paris. This encouraged the ailing artist. He died at the young age of 37 on December 24, 1924. It is said that he died in peace.