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1930-1940

History

Mukden, place of the railway incident The period between 1930 and 1945 is often referred to as Kurai tanima, The Dark Valley, ôa period of suspicion, narrow-minded nationalism and growing conformityö, to quote Donald Jenkins once more. There were a host of negative developments: in 1931 army officers of the Guandong army (the Japanese army stationed in Manchuria) blew up a few metres of the South Manchurian Railway, and subsequently blamed the attack on Chinese saboteurs, thus giving them a pretext to start the occupation of Manchuria. In 1932 Manchukuo, the Japanese name for Manchuria, was established. Also in 1932 Japan decided to leave the League of Nations, and the Japanese system of party government finally crumbled in1932, when on May 15th a group of junior naval officers and army cadets assassinated Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi (1855-1932). Although the assassins were put on trial and sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment, they were generally seen as having acted out of patriotism.
The role of the army needs some further explanation at this point. From the beginning of the 20th century there had always been a division between the urban and the rural population; the latter could be characterized as conservative, traditional and poor, the former as liberal, westernized and relatively prosperous. The army was primarily recruited from the rural population, and it was the rural population that was hardest hit when the worldwide depression of the 1930s struck Japan. The army had found its own way of overcoming the depression and that was by expansion abroad and by targeting everyone that was obstructing them. All those looking outward were seen as a threat to the nation and to the emperor. The situation worsened every year. A full-scale war in China developed, culminating in the so-called ôNanking massacreö, or ôRape of Nankingö, at the end of 1937, claiming between 150,000 and 300,000 victims.

Newspaper 1937 Nanking massacre

In 1940, political parties were ordered to dissolve, and the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, comprising members of all former parties, was established to transmit government orders throughout society. Japan occupied French Indochina (Vietnam) upon agreement with the French Vichy government, and joined the Axis powers Germany and Italy. These actions intensified Japan's conflict with the United States, which reacted with an oil boycott. The resulting oil shortage and failures to solve the conflict diplomatically made Japan decide to capture the oil rich Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia) and to start a war with the US and Great Britain.

Artistic developments

Munakata Shik˘, Fud˘ My˘˘ In spite of the pervasive atmosphere of narrow-mindedness the world of art remained relatively unaffected. Artists were not forced to conform, like in Germany and in Russia. For instance, as late as 1937 a major exhibition of European surrealism was held in Tokyo, and artists kept travelling overseas, both to Europe and to the US. One s˘saku hanga artist deserves special mention: Munakata Shik˘ (1903-1975). Raised in a blacksmithĺs family in Aomori he went to Tokyo in 1924 in order ôto become the Japanese Van Goghö. In 1928 he met Hiratsuka Unĺichi (also from Aomori), who made him turn to woodblock printing. Already in the 30s he created some of his major works, e.g. The Ten Great Disciples of Buddha, made in 1939.
In 1931 the Nihon S˘saku Hanga Ky˘kai, founded in 1918, merged with another print group, the Y˘fű Hangakai (the ôWesten-Style Print Societyö), and the result was the Nihon Hanga Ky˘kai (the ôJapan Print Societyö), consisting of 28 former Nihon S˘saku Hanga Ky˘kai members and 5 former Y˘fű Hangakai members. From February 5th to April 8th 1934 they organized a major exhibition in Paris, in the MusÚe des Arts Decoratifs, which later travelled to other European capitals.
In 1932 Ono Tadashige (1909-1990) started a group with a different objective: the Shin Hanga Shűdan (the ôNew Print Groupö). They wanted to create an outlet for the proletarian art movement. Their first exhibition was in a Ginza gallery in 1932; later they also organized street exhibitions to popularize proletarian art. The authorities were very much against all expressions of both socialism and communism, and the efforts of the Shin Hanga Shűdan were thwarted at every turn, though the group was never forbidden. Yet, in 1937 they reformed, changed their name to Z˘kei Hanga Ky˘kai (literally ôPlastic Prints Cooperative Societyö), and decided to focus on artistic hanga rather than on proletarian art.
Meanwhile, in 1935, another major breakthrough had been achieved: extracurricular classes of hanga were to be given at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, and on June 17th of that year Hiratsuka Unĺichi taught his first class of 56 students. One of them was Kitaoka Fumio, (b. 1918), who is still active at the time of composing this short essay.

Prints made in this decade:


1
Nitta, J˘

2
Miyao, Shigeo

3
Yamagishi, Kazue

4
Tokuriki, Tomikichir˘

5
Mut˘, Kan-ichi

6
Kikuchi, Zenjir˘

7
Maeda, Masao

8
Uchida, Shizuma

9
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi

10
Onchi, K˘shir˘

11
Kawakami, Sumio

12
Maekawa, Senpan

13
Nagare, K˘ji

14
Kat˘, Tetsunosuke

15
Kat˘, Tetsunosuke

16
Kat˘, Tetsunosuke

17
Ishizaki, Shigetoshi

18
Murayama, Kank˘

19
Murayama, Kank˘

20
Ishii, Ry˘suke

21
Yasui, S˘tar˘

22
Nitta, J˘

23
Serizawa, Keisuke

24
Asahi, Masahide

25
Asano, Takeji

26
Yasui, S˘tar˘

27
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi

28
Koizumi, Kishio

29
Maeda, Masao

30
Kawanishi, Hide

31
Shimozawa, Kihachir˘

32
Shimizu, K˘ichi

33
Asano, Takeji

34
Shiba, Hideo

35
Shiba, Hideo

36
Ebata, Yoshiichi

37
Kodama, Takamura

38
Tagawa, Ken

39
Shimizu, Masahiro

40
Takeda, Shintar˘

41
Kawanishi, Hide

42
Kawanishi, Hide

43
Kawanishi, Hide

44
Maeda, Masao

45
Taninaka, Yasunori

46
Takahashi, Tasabur˘

47
Ono, Tadashige

48
Sekino, Jun'ichir˘

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

Asada, Benji
Asaga, Manjir˘
Asahi, Masahide
Asano, Takeji
Azechi, Umetar˘
Fujimori, Shizuo
Fukazawa, Sakuichi
Hagiwara, Hideo
Hashimoto, Okiie
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi
Inagaki, Tomoo
Ishii, Tsuruz˘
Katsuhira, Tokushi
Kawakami, Sumio
Kawanishi, Hide
Kikuchi, Zenjir˘
Kitaoka, Fumio
Kitazawa, Shűji
Kodama, Takamura
Koizumi, Kishio
K˘saka, Gajin
Kuroki, Sadao
Maeda, Masao
Maeda, T˘shir˘
Maekawa, Senpan
Miyao, Shigeo
Munakata, Shik˘
Nakagawa, Isaku
Nitta, J˘
Onchi, K˘shir˘
Ono, Tadashige
Sasajima, Kihei
Sekino, Jun'ichir˘
Shimozawa, Kihachir˘
Tagawa, Ken
Takeda, Shintar˘
Tokuriki, Tomikichir˘
Tsukamoto, Tetsu
Uchida, Shizuma
Urushibara, Mokuchű
Wada, Sanz˘
Wakayama, Yasoji
Yamagishi, Kazue
Yamaguchi, Gen
Yamaguchi, Susumu
Nagare, K˘ji
Kat˘, Tetsunosuke
Henmi, Takashi
Ishizaki, Shigetoshi
Nemoto, Kagai
Murayama, Kank˘
Shimizu, Masahiro
Yasui, S˘tar˘
Miyamoto, Kiy˘shir˘
Sakamoto, Hanjir˘
Hatsuyama, Shigeru
Serizawa, Keisuke
Wada, Kunib˘
Kuriyama, Shigeru
Dantsuka, Gyor˘
 
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  
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  
Ishii, Tsuruz˘  
Ishizaki, Shigetoshi  
It˘, Kennosuke  
It˘, Ryosaku  
Ito, Takayoshi  
Iwasaki, Miwako  
Izumida Koji  
Johnson, Lois  
Kadowaki, Shun'ichi  
Kamei, T˘bei  
Karhu, Clifton  
Katase, Kazuhiro  
Kat˘, Tetsunosuke  
Kat˘, Yasu  
Katsuhira, Tokushi  
Kawachi, Seiko  
Kawakami, Sumio  
Kawanishi Yűzabur˘  
Kawanishi, Hide  
Kawano, Kaoru  
Kawasaki, Kyosen  
Kikuchi, Zenjir˘  
Kitaoka, Fumio  
Kitazawa, Shűji  
Kodama, Takamura  
Koga, Misao  
Koga, Nobuyoshi  
Koizumi, Kishio  
Konishi, Seiichir˘  
K˘saka, Gajin  
Kozaki, Kan  
Kristensen, Tom  
Kume, K˘ichi  
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  
Moritani, Rikio  
Murakami, Gyojin  
Murayama, Kank˘  
Mut˘, Kan-ichi  
Nagare, K˘ji  
Nakagawa, Isaku  
Nakano, Yoichi  
Nakayama, Tadashi  
Nara, Enami  
Nemoto, Kagai  
Nitta, J˘  
Noriko, Suizu  
Nunomura, Shin'ichi  
Ogawa, Tatsuhiko  
Okamoto, Ryusei  
ďkubo, Yutaka  
ďmoto, Yasushi  
Onchi, K˘shir˘  
Ono, Tadashige  
ďta, Sabur˘  
Saga, Toshiko  
Sait˘, Kimiko  
Sait˘, Kiyoshi  
Sakamoto, Hanjir˘  
Sakamoto, Isamu  
Sasajima, Kihei  
Sat˘, Ch˘zan 佐藤 朝山  
Satoshi  
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˘  
Takeda, T.  
Tanaka, Kuniz˘   
Taninaka, Yasunori  
Tobari, Kogan  
Tokuriki, Tomikichir˘  
Tomimoto, Kenkichi  
Tsukamoto, Shigeru  
Tsukamoto, Tetsu  
Tsuruta, Gor˘  
Uchida, Shizuma  
Ueda, Gagyű (上田, 臥牛)  
Uekawa, Ai 上川愛  
Unidentified  
Various  
Wakayama, Yasoji  
Yamada, Akiyo  
Yamagishi, Kazue  
Yamaguchi, Gen  
Yamaguchi, Susumu  
Yamataka, Naboru  
Yasui, S˘tar˘  
Yasumoto, Hideo  
Yoshida, Hodaka  

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