Japan Art and Kajita Hanko: Beauty and Death (Tuberculosis)

Japan Art and Kajita Hanko: Beauty and Death (Tuberculosis)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Kajita Hanko was born in 1870 and died in the Taisho period at a relatively young age. Despite his stunning prints of elegant-looking ladies, his life was beset by tragedy.

His father was a metal engraver. However, with his family suffering from a low income, he helped other family members by working when he was young. Accordingly, Kajita utilized his artistic skills by painting fans and other items.

In 1898, he married Kitada Usurai (1876-1900). She was a writer. After one year of marriage, they had a child called Hiroe. Then tragedy struck because she died in 1900 from tuberculosis (intestinal).

Accordingly, the prints in this article were completed in the 1900 to 1910 period. Hence, one can imagine the mixed emotions of Kajita depicting elegant ladies – despite his partner dying so young.

It is easy to imagine Kajita feeling a strong emotion with the prints he completed after the death of Kitada. Sadly, Kajita would also die from tuberculosis at a relatively young age.

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