Japan Art and the Sumida River: Tokyo in the Snow

Japan Art and the Sumida River: Tokyo in the Snow

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

All three prints focus on the Sumida River in Tokyo in winter. Accordingly, the prints provide an uplifting view of the Sumida River because each print is atmospheric.

The above print is by Tsuchiya Koitsu (1870-1949) – he was born during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Initially, he produced lithographs until lung inflammation deteriorated his health in the early twentieth century, which meant he abandoned this angle of his life.

The Koller Collection of Asian Art says, “After abandoning lithography and working primarily in painting for nearly three decades, Kōitsu started designing more landscapes for woodblock prints (fukei-ga) in 1931. His return to printmaking is typically traced to the apocryphal meeting with esteemed print publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885–1962) at a memorial exhibition commemorating Kiyochika.”

The second print is by the esteemed Keisai Eisen (1790-1848). However, he is often portrayed negatively – not concerning his printmaking skills – because of his lifestyle.

The MET Museum says, “One of the most eccentric ukiyo-e artists, Eisen was frequently found drunk in brothels, and in his later years actually became the owner of one himself. His coquette is a far cry from the lovely aristocratic beauty portrayed some three decades earlier by Utamaro.”

In the final print, Takahashi Shōtei (Hiroaki) creates a stunning print of the Sumida River. Therefore, despite the harsh conditions, the winter scene and the simplicity of life stand out.

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).”

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

http://moderntokyotimes.com Modern Tokyo Times – International News and Japan News

http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi’s website and Modern Tokyo Times artist

https://moderntokyonews.com Modern Tokyo News – Tokyo News and International News


https://twitter.com/MTT_News Modern Tokyo Times