Japan Art and Kato Tetsunosuke: Working Class Life and Hokkaido

Japan Art and Kato Tetsunosuke: Working Class Life and Hokkaido

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The artist Kato Tetsunosuke was active from the mid-1920s until 1950. He was supported by the Sapporo Tourist Association, which published most of his prints.

In the first print, Tetsunosuke focuses on the indigenous Ainu. They are busy carving – and like most working class, economic survival is the norm. However, unlike many artists who fail to highlight the working class, his prints don’t neglect their world.

The print above focuses on sheep in the vastness of Hokkaido. Hence, while no visual depictions highlight the human form, it is easy to imagine agricultural workers in the early morning and maintaining the land.

He belongs to the sosaku hanga (creative prints) art movement. Sadly, little is known about his life – it is presumed he developed printmaking during the Taisho Period (1912-1926).

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