Japanese art and children playing

Japanese art and children playing

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Katsuhira Tokushi (1904-1971) was born in the prefecture of Akita. His childhood embraced the farming culture of his parents.

Katsuhira’s artistic break came when he met the esteemed Kanae Yamamoto (1882-1946) – who held lofty socialist ideals. Kanae took art, crafts, embroidery, weaving, and woodcarving to communities that were traditionally neglected.

The Farmers’ Art Movement enabled Katsuhira to focus on carvings after he entered a woodblock carving class. This happened in 1928 after Kanae – and other inspired socialists – encouraged ordinary people to connect with art and various angles concerning craftwork, embroidery, painting, woodcarving, and weaving.

The first art piece highlights the independent spirit of Katsuhira – while the second art piece above is by Hitoshi Kiyohara (1896-1956). He studied under Nanpu Katayama and Fuko Matsumoto. Also, in the 1940s, he designed lovely prints of children playing and enjoying life despite the difficulties of the war period.

The final art piece by Shuntei Miyagawa (1873-1914) also focuses on traditional styles. He was born in the prefecture of Aichi and studied printmaking in his informative years under Tomioka Eisen.

Unlike the socialist ideals and rural family traditions that impacted Katsuhira: in the opposite direction, Shuntei focused on the upper classes. However, the contrasting themes and ideas provide a glimpse into the real world of Japan from multiple angles.

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