Japan Art and Kawase Hasui: Early Showa Period

Japan Art and Kawase Hasui: Early Showa Period

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) belongs to the printworld of Shin-Hanga (New Prints). He developed this art form throughout the Taisho and early Showa periods of Japanese history.

Hasui heavily focused on the four seasons throughout his prints. Equally, he utilized the atmospheric feeling of early evening to nightfall. Accordingly, the striking usage of blue is witnessed in these prints.

The Virginia Art Museum says, “Born in Tokyo, Kawase Hasui was a master of Japanese landscape prints. He began his journey as an illustrator for books and magazines but soon discovered his heart belonged to printmaking. In 1918, he began creating Shin-hanga (new prints) and designed more than 600 prints during the following 40 years.”

The atmospheric feeling in the first two prints immediately stands out. However, a natural softer balance is witnessed in the print below.

Shozaburo Watanabe (1885-1962) – the leading print publisher of woodblock prints in the lifetime of Hasui – adored the shin hanga movement while exploiting the commercial angle. Henceforth, both individuals blessed the shin hanga movement irrespective of their differences – commercial to artist.

The prints in this article belong to the early Showa Period.

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