Japan art and Takahashi Shōtei: Buddhism, Shinto, and landscapes

Japan art and Takahashi Shōtei: Buddhism, Shinto, and landscapes

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Takahashi Shōtei (Hiroaki) created beautiful woodblock prints throughout his life. He was the first Shin Hanga (New Prints) printmaker to work under the acclaimed publisher Watanabe Shozaburo.

The Takahashi Shōtei website says, “At the age of 16, he went to work at the Imperial Household Department of Foreign Affairs, where it was his job to copy designs of foreign medals, clothing, and other ceremonial objects. In 1889, along with Terazaki Kogyo, he founded the Japan Youth Painting Society (Nihon Seinen Kaiga Kyokai).”

Hence, from a very young age during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Shōtei had a firm direction in life. This determination – and work ethic – entails he produced countless prints for several famous publishers.

The 1930s enabled Shōtei to express his individualism to a higher degree when working for Fusui Gabo. Shōtei still produced prints for Watanabe in the same period. However, the publisher Fusui allowed Shōtei to express himself more.

In the last art piece, the Yushima Tenjin Shinto Shrine compound beckons people to pray. The wintery conditions and the stunning skyline also work delightfully.

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