Japanese Vintage Style Art Lake Ashi

Written by: Naol Worku

2 Min read

Tsuchiya koistu Tsuchiya koistu

Tsuchiya Koistu (August 28, 1870 – November 13,1949) was born as Tsuchiya Sahei into a farming household in the Hamamatsu area of Shizuoka Prefecture about 150 miles southwest of Tokyo. Koitsu moved to Tokyo at the age of fifteen to train at a temple. His artistic talent must have been recognised by the temple priest as the priest arranged for him to take an apprenticeship with the engraver Matsuzaki Shūmei, an associate of Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), soon master kobayashi took him under his wing. It was Matsuzaki who arranged for the young Koitsu to apprentice with Kiyochika, and Koitsu was to live in the Kiyochika household from around 1886 until 1900, where he worked under his master's wing until he moved into his own house. It was Kiyochika who gave the young Tsuchiya the artist name (go) Koitsu. While a student of Kiyochika, Koitsu designed his first commercial prints.

Koitsu specialised in landscape prints. He came to landscape prints late in his career at the age of 61, and while a contemporary of Hasui and Kasamatsu he is considered a second generation shin hanga artist. His first recorded landscape designs date from c. 1931 when he created designs for both the Tokyo-based publishers Kawaguchi and Watanabe, the most famous of shin hanga publishers. His style reminds of the works of his master Kobayashi and of the famous shin hanga artists Kawase Hasui and Hiroshi Yoshida. In typical shin hanga style, Tsuchiya Koitsu intensively used the effects of light to create moods and emotions in his images.

Other publishers for whom Tsuchiya Koitsu worked are Doi and Kawaguchi. During the 1930s and 1940s, Koitsu was quite productive in shin hanga landscape designs. His prints have been a bit neglected on the art market, but have gained in appreciation and price during the last years. Koitsu prints are solid works, beautiful and by no means mediocre. This makes this artist interesting for novice collectors and those who have an open eye for discoveries.

The Hidden Meanings of Tsuchiya Koitsu's Mount Fuji
These two breathtaking prints of Mount Fuji by Tsuchiya Koitsu were both framed from the perspective of the famous five lakes in Hakone. The astounding beauty of the landscapes portrayed here captivated western buyers at the time, but Mount Fuji as a symbol actually meant more than just an attractive Japanese mountain. Mount Fuji was often used to represent the increasingly nationalistic sentiments that the country was experiencing, especially after Japan had taken control of Manchuria in the early 1930s. By the end of that decade, woodblock prints of scenic locations heavy with Japanese national symbolism had increased fiercely. The small shrine featured in the image above also contributed to the expression of patriotism, as Shinto was the state religion at the time

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