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1920-1930

History

This decade saw the culmination of the Taish˘ era, but also several developments that eventually led to the outbreak of the Pacific War (1941-1945). At the time, only the most insightful of observers recognized the signs of the time, and at the end of the Taish˘ era, roughly between 1924 and 1926 there were quite a few developments not pointing in the direction of war: in 1925 universal male suffrage was introduced, quadrupling the number of voters; there was some social legislation, military expenditure was halved, and most astonishing of all was the rapid rebuilding of Tokyo after the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1st 1923.

1923 Earthquake1923 Earthquake

At the time of the earthquake Tokyo was the worldĺs third largest city, and the earthquake had devastating results: some 100,000 people were killed, approximately 600,000 houses were destroyed or seriously damaged, especially in the Shitamachi (downtown) district. With determined efficiency the reconstruction of the damaged city was undertaken, and in only a few yearsĺ time the most seriously damaged parts had been transformed into a modern city with high concrete buildings. The narikin (nouveaux riches) and the moga, an abbreviation of modan garu (modern girl) created for themselves a background in which they could flourish.
Yet there were several flies in the ointment, and clouds gradually started gathering. In 1923 an anarchist had tried to assassinate Regent Hirohito (the Taish˘ emperorĺs son, who had taken over his fatherĺs duties in 1921), in 1924 the US Congress had passed the Immigration Act, which blocked Japanese immigration into the US, and which was the culmination of a distinctly racist attitude in California in particular. In my library I have a book by H. A Millis, The Japanese problem in the United States, published in 1915 ôfor the Commission on Relations with Japan, under the authority of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in Americaö. It makes very depressive reading. In 1927 there was a banking crisis, and in 1929 the New York Stock Exchange crash exacerbated the worsening economic situation. In 1930 Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi (1870-1931) reached agreement with USA and UK to limit naval construction. The rate agreed upon was to be: USA : UK : Japan = 10 : 10 : 7. This led to serious protests all over the country, and an assassination attempt on the PM, which failed. He was seriously wounded however, and died the following year. Also in China the Japanese felt their interests threatened by the Kuomintang, who were proving ever more successful in their attempts to unify the country.

Artistic developments

Hiratsuka Unĺichi, Shingawa kiba, 1923 For S˘saku Hanga, the 1920s were a period of consolidation. Several early pioneers like Minami Kunz˘ and Ishii Hakutei stopped making prints entirely, new stars like Hiratsuka Unĺichi (1895-1997) and Onchi K˘shir˘ (1891-1955) appeared in the firmament. Both were major artists, though in different ways: Hiratsuka Unĺichi was indefatigable, travelling across the country, teaching everywhere while working on an impressive oeuvre. Onchi K˘shir˘ was a truly innovative artist, who had an enormous influence on his fellow-artists. He had been born with a gold spoon in his mouth (his father was a tutor of the imperial family, and Onchi K˘shir˘ himself had had private tutors as well), and after leaving art school (prematurely) he became well-know as a book designer, and most of all as a printmaker.
The 1920s are also known for the flowering of a great number of Hanga magazines that appeared and disappeared in the 1920s. Apart from the annual Nihon S˘saku Hanga Ky˘kai exhibitions these magazines were the primary means by which established and aspiring artists alike could reach their audience. Hanga envelope S˘saku hanga prints were made in very limited editions anyway, mainly because most artists saw no use in printing more than a few copies, and even the Hanga magazines had a very limited circulation. The best-known, Hanga, is supposed not to have had more than 300 subscribers, though some prints may have been reprinted later. Hanga is exemplary in many ways. It was started in 1924 by the publisher Yamaguchi Hisayoshi, the owner of Hanga no Ie (House of Prints) in Kobe, the same man who had published Hiratsukaĺs ôTokyo after the Earthquakeö series. Hanga appeared four times a year. It was not really a magazine, but a folder, and later an envelope containing ten to fifteen prints attached to pieces of thin cardboard giving artist and title. After 16 issues Hanga was discontinued in 1930. Almost all known s˘saku hanga artists contributed prints to this magazine in this period. Another major achievement in the 1920s was the publication of Shin Tokyo Hyakkei - One Hundred views of New Tokyo, by the publisher Nakajima Jűtar˘, who had also published the series Nihon Fűkei Hanga mentioned in the previous essay. The series was started in 1928, so five years after the Tokyo earthquake, in an edition of 50 numbered copies. It took five years to finish. Contributors to the series were Hiratsuka Unĺichi, Onchi K˘shir˘, Maekawa Senpan (1888-1960), Fujimori Shizuo (1891-1943), Henmi Takashi (1895-1944), Kawakami Sumio (1895-1972), Fukazawa Sakuichi (1896-1947) and Suwa Kanenori (1897-1932), so the best artists of the period.

Prints made in this decade:


1
Kawasaki, Kyosen

2
Fukazawa, Sakuichi

3
Kodama, Takamura

4
Fujiki, Kikumaro

5
Moritani, Rikio

6
Kitazawa, Shűji

7
Various

8
Various

9
Various

10
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi

11
Asahi, Masahide

12
Inagaki, Tomoo

13
Onchi, K˘shir˘

14
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi

15
Tsukamoto, Shigeru

16
Onchi, K˘shir˘

17
Fujimori, Shizuo

18
Kawakami, Sumio

19
Tobari, Kogan

20
Tobari, Kogan

21
Yorozu, Tetsugor˘

  Artists active in this decade,
who can be found on this website:

Asada, Benji
Asahi, Masahide
Asano, Takeji
Fujiki, Kikumaro
Fujimori, Shizuo
Fukazawa, Sakuichi
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi
Inagaki, Tomoo
Ishii, Tsuruz˘
Katsuhira, Tokushi
Kawakami, Sumio
Kawanishi, Hide
Kitazawa, Shűji
Koizumi, Kishio
K˘saka, Gajin
Maeda, Masao
Maeda, T˘shir˘
Morita, Tsunetomo
Moritani, Rikio
Nakagawa, Isaku
Okamoto, Ryusei
Onchi, K˘shir˘
Ono, Tadashige
Takeda, Shintar˘
Tokuriki, Tomikichir˘
Yamagishi, Kazue
Yamaguchi, Susumu
Tsukamoto, Shigeru
Tsuruta, Gor˘
Tomimoto, Kenkichi
Henmi, Takashi
Tobari, Kogan
Ishizaki, Shigetoshi
Sakamoto, Hanjir˘
Hatsuyama, Shigeru
Minami, Kunz˘
Yorozu, Tetsugor˘
 
Prints by artist
Abe, Sh˘ko  
Akiyama, Iwao  
Asada, Benji  
Asaga, Manjir˘  
Asahi, Masahide  
Asano, Takeji  
Asano, Yuichi  
Azechi, Umetar˘  
Binnie, Paul  
Dantsuka, Gyor˘   
Ebata, Yoshiichi  
Fujiki, Kikumaro  
Fujimori, Shizuo  
Fukami, Gashu  
Fukazawa, Sakuichi  
Hagiwara, Hideo  
Hasegawa Tomisabur˘  
Hashimoto, Okiie  
Hatsuyama, Shigeru  
Hayashi, Waichi  
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi  
Hiroshima, Shintar˘  
Homma, Rie  
Homma, Yoichir˘  
Hori, Yoshiji (堀義二)  
Id˘, Masao  
Inagaki, Tomoo  
Inatsugi, Junz˘  
Ishii, Hakutei  
Ishii, Ry˘suke  
Ishizaki, Shigetoshi  
It˘, Kennosuke  
It˘, Ryosaku  
Ito, Takayoshi  
Iwasaki, Miwako  
Izumida Koji  
Johnson, Lois  
Kadowaki, Shun'ichi  
Kamei, T˘bei  
Karhu, Clifton  
Kasamatsu, Shir˘  
Katase, Kazuhiro  
Kat˘, Tetsunosuke  
Kat˘, Yasu  
Katsuhira, Tokushi  
Kawachi, Seiko  
Kawakami, Sumio  
Kawanishi, Hide  
Kawano, Kaoru  
Kawasaki, Kyosen  
Kikuchi, Zenjir˘  
Kitaoka, Fumio  
Kitazawa, Shűji  
Kodama, Takamura  
Koga, Misao  
Koga, Nobuyoshi  
Koizumi, Kishio  
K˘saka, Gajin  
Kozaki, Kan  
Kristensen, Tom  
Kuriyama, Shigeru  
Kuroki, Sadao  
Kusaka, Satomi  
Lyon, Mike  
Maeda, Masao  
Maeda, T˘shir˘  
Maekawa, Senpan  
Maki, Haku  
Makino, Munenori  
Matsubara, Naoko  
Minami, Kunz˘   
Miyamoto, Shufu  
Miyao, Shigeo  
Miyata, Masayuki  
Miyata, Sabur˘  
Mori, D˘shun  
Morita, Tsunetomo  
Moritani, Rikio  
Murakami, Gyojin  
Murayama, Kank˘  
Mut˘, Kan-ichi  
Nagare, K˘ji  
Nakagawa, Isaku  
Nakano, Yoichi  
Nakayama, Tadashi  
Nara, Enami  
Nemoto, Kagai  
Nitta, J˘  
Nunomura, Shin'ichi  
Ogawa, Tatsuhiko  
Okamoto, Ryusei  
ďkubo, Yutaka  
ďmoto, Yasushi  
Onchi, K˘shir˘  
Ono, Tadashige  
ďta, Sabur˘  
Sait˘, Kimiko  
Sait˘, Kiyoshi  
Sakamoto, Hanjir˘  
Sakamoto, Isamu  
Sasajima, Kihei  
Sat˘, Ch˘zan 佐藤 朝山  
Sekino, Jun'ichir˘  
Sewai, Koichi  
Shiba, Hideo  
Shima, Tamami  
Shimizu, K˘ichi  
Shimizu, Masahiro  
Shimozawa, Kihachir˘  
Suzuki, Atsuko  
Tagawa, Ken  
Takada, Kazuo  
Takagi, Shir˘  
Takahashi, Shin'ichi  
Takahashi, Tasabur˘  
Takeda, Gentar˘  
Takeda, Shintar˘  
Tanaka, Kuniz˘   
Taninaka, Yasunori  
Tobari, Kogan  
Tokuriki, Tomikichir˘  
Tomimoto, Kenkichi  
Tsukamoto, Shigeru  
Tsukamoto, Tetsu  
Tsuruta, Gor˘  
Uchida, Shizuma  
Ueda, Yoshifumi  
Unidentified  
Various  
Wakayama, Yasoji  
Yamada, Akiyo  
Yamagishi, Kazue  
Yamaguchi, Gen  
Yamaguchi, Susumu  
Yamataka, Naboru  
Yasui, S˘tar˘  
Yorozu, Tetsugor˘  
Yoshida, Hodaka  

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