Japan Art and Hagiwara Hideo: Trauma of War and Poor Health

Japan Art and Hagiwara Hideo: Trauma of War and Poor Health

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Hagiwara Hideo (1913-2007) was a firmly established artist by the second half of the 20th century after suffering enormous adversity. Hence, these art pieces were completed in the late 1940s at a time of uncertainty throughout Japan concerning the convulsions of war.

The British Museum says,  “…he attended Hiratsuka Un’ichi’s extracurricular woodblock printing course, and as a result joined the Takamizawa Woodblock Print Company in 1938 as a quality controller, where he learned much about ‘Ukiyo-e’ print techniques.”

Hagiwara, like countless numbers of Japanese nationals, was conscripted into the armed forces in 1943. His health declined dramatically – and he became bedridden for three years in the post-war period.

The Tokyo air raids entailed that he lost his atelier, the majority of his early artworks, and his home. Accordingly, despite suffering from poor health, his determination shone brightly because he studied woodblock printing from a very creative angle.

The tenaciousness of Hagiwara and starting afresh – while focusing on artistic innovation concerning sosaku hanga (new prints) – is to be admired.

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