A student of Josetsu, Shubun became one of the most influential painters of the suiboku style ink painting alongside with Sesshu, his pupil. Many landscape paintings in ink in varying quality and style are attributed to Shubun. Examples are in the Fujiwara collection and the Seikado Foundation. Famous is his realistic landscape painting Reading in a Bamboo Grove (1446, in the Tokyo National Museum).
He was chief painter to the shogun. In 1423 or 1424, he went on an official trip to Korea as part of the shogun's embassy.
Shubun is credited in Japan, along with Sesshu, as the greatest and most influential painter of the Muromachi period. The cultural roots in the Muromachi art lay in China's Southern Song dynasty, with Zen as a primary principle in art. Shubun is believed to have perfected the Japanese monochrome Zen painting.