Japan Art and Winter Snow: Kawase Hasui

Japan Art and Winter Show: Kawase Hasui

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) belongs to the artistic world of Shin-Hanga (New Prints). Accordingly, he developed this print form throughout the Taisho and Showa periods of Japanese history – while being born during the dynamic Meiji Period (1868-1912) that transformed this nation.

The MET Museum says, “Kawase was a leading figure of the early twentieth-century print movement known as Shin-hanga (literally, “new prints”), which focused on traditional techniques and subject matter.”

All prints focus on winter snow. They also provide a tranquil atmosphere – despite the harshness of the weather.

The British Museum says,  “In 1907 he began studying Western-style art, especially landscape, at the Hakuba-kai (White Horse Society) and took guidance from Okada Saburosuke (1869-1939); subsequently in 1910 he became a pupil of Kaburaki Kiyokata who gave him the art name Hasui, though the greatest influence on his style and palette was the ‘Nihonga’ painter Imamura Shiko (1880-1916).”

Through the prism of his art, you can conceive a world not ruined by industrialization, nationalism, political ideology, war, and horrendous social convulsions. Accordingly, it is fitting that in the post-war period in Japan, the central government utilized his serene art – and others – to spread soft power.

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