Japan Art and the Moon

Japan Art and the Moon

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The central theme in the three diverse prints is the moon and the notable differences in the landscapes and settings of each print.

Above is a stunning print by Yoshimune Arai, with the striking moon illuminating the sky. It is easy to imagine the awe of the view that the lady witnessed – while for the ferryman, a sight seen on many working occasions.

Yoshimune Arai produced stunning shin hanga (new prints). However, little is known about this printmaker. Accordingly, he was born either in the late Edo Period or early Meiji Period – and died in the 1940s (neither date fully known).

In contrast to the first print, Okuyama Gihachiro (1907-1981) focuses on a snow-filled landscape illuminated by a striking moon. He created this stunning print in the early 1950s.

The final print is by Tokuriki Tomikichiro (1902-1999). He was born in Kyoto. Accordingly, the print above – completed in the 1950s – highlights a stunning Buddhist compound.

The British Museum says, “The last of a long line of traditional-style painters, he turned early to woodblock prints and became a leader of the Kyoto ‘Sosaku Hanga’. He graduated from the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts and then from the Kyoto City Specialist School of Painting in 1924.”

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