Born in Edo , now Tokyo, Asai liked to draw pictures from childhood. In1876, he discovered Western-style painting and entered the private art school run by Shinkuro Kunisawa. The same year, he entered the Technical Art School (Kobu Bijutsu Gakko) and studied under Antonio Fontanesi. He absorbed Fontanesi’s style of painting well and drew a lot of calm landscapes with brown tonality. After Fontanesi went back to Italy, Asai dropped out of the school and participated in the foundation of the Meiji Fine Arts Society (Meiji Bijutsu-kai). In 1889, he became a professor in the new Western Painting Section of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. But the same year, he went to France and stayed especially in Grez-sur-Loing near Paris. In 1902, he came back to Japan, and became a professor at the Kyoto High School of Arts and Crafts. Furthermore he established his private art school, the Shogoin Institute of Western-style Painting, and participated in the foundation the Kansai Bijutsu-in. He made an effort to develop Western art in Kyoto, and at the same time to train much of the next generation of artists.
One of two works that Asai exhibited at the Tokyo Industrial Art Society in 1887. A family on the way home after completing a day of agricultural work is depicted with massive volume, amid long sunbeams that penetrate into the smallest details of the painting. The stiffness of expression and lack of motion of the three figures are thought to be due to the picture having been painted from a photograph.