Tokyo Art and Koshiro Onchi: Spirit of Sosaku Hanga

Tokyo Art and Koshiro Onchi: Spirit of Sosaku Hanga

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Koshiro Onchi (1891-1955) belongs to the Sosaku Hanga (creative prints) art movement. His individualistic approach stands out – along with the influence of poetry on his mindset.

The British Museum says, “From 1904 to 1909 he was at the German Cooperative Middle School, as he was intended to be a physician, the profession of his mother’s family. Although he dropped out of High School, his knowledge of German gave him a special sympathy with German art, which was to have as a result a major effect on ‘Sosaku Hanga’.”

Onchi was trained in calligraphy and Western art when young. He also was inspired by Takehisa Yumeji.

The Art Institute of Chicago says, “Onchi, who often cited Kandinsky and Munch as his major influences, was decidedly Western-oriented in terms of style. He explained that printmaking is the best way to create abstract art, since it is the most removed from the artist’s hand or brush and requires precision and forethought in construction and composition.”

The three prints of Mount Fuji, motherhood, and a violinist highlight the individualistic traits of Onchi.

He famously said, “Art is not something that can be grasped by the mind, it is understood by the heart. If one goes back to its origin, painting expresses the heart in color and form, and it must not be limited to the world of reflected forms captured by sight.”

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