Japan Art and Koizumi Kishio: Early Showa and Tokyo (Beauty and War)

Japan Art and Koizumi Kishio: Early Showa and Tokyo (Beauty and War)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Koizumi Kishio (1893-1945) was born in the Meiji Period. However, despite the warlike period and international colonial convulsions – along with the rise of nationalism and communism – these art pieces by Koizumi highlight tranquility and beauty.

His ‘One Hundred Views of Great Tokyo in the Showa Era’ provide a delightful glimpse into the other world: the world of normality where the political ideas of the central state remain unseen. Accordingly, it is unimaginable when viewing these art images that tragedy – and militarism – were killing so many innocents – in all directions.

The British Museum says, “Koizumi was born in Shizuoka, the son of a specialist in calligraphy who commissioned woodblock-printed manuals; he learned the craft from his father’s block-carver Horigoe Kan’ichi. In common with many ‘Sosaku Hanga’ artists he studied Western-style water-colour, in his case under Ishii Hakutei (q.v.) and Maruyama Banka (1867-1942), at the Nihon Suisaiga-kai (Japan Watercolour Institute) in Tokyo.”

Kiyosumi Park is depicted beautifully in the first art image. Indeed, while this print was completed in the 1930s, this stunning park continues to attract people in modern Tokyo.

The second and third art pieces depict Shiba Park and Ueno Park. In these two lovely prints, people are enjoying the scenery of Tokyo that existed in the 1930s when Koizumi completed ‘One Hundred Views of Great Tokyo in the Showa Era.’

Sadly, the environs of Tokyo witnessed the Great Kanto Earthquake in the early 1920s and then the carpet bombing of this city – and in other parts of Japan – by America. However, if you close your eyes, it is easy to imagine the “other world” depicted by Koizumi that could have existed in peace: if it wasn’t for the political ambitions of the ruling elites in several nations.

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