Japan art and Toshikata Mizuno (1866-1908)

Japan art and Toshikata Mizuno (1866-1908)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Toshikata Mizuno (1866-1908) was born in Tokyo. His world was the Meiji Period (1868-1912) which altered Japan enormously. This equally applies to internal and external convulsions because Japanese military expansionism began in Northeast Asia.

Mizuno began to study printmaking when 13 years old. He also studied the skills of ceramic painting when young. Hence, learning printmaking skills from Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and ceramics enabled Mizuno to diversify further. Therefore, he studied various aspects of Japanese art concerning Shibata Hoshu and Watanabe Seitei (Maruyama-Shijo-style) to further his skills.

Japanese art was altering dramatically concerning the encroachment of Western art and ideas. Indeed, Meiji political elites were intent on learning new Western ideas. This includes art, law, science, technology, and much more. Also, technological advancements made traditional printmaking look cumbersome. Therefore, Mizuno had to adapt to these momentous changes to the best of his ability.

The Met Museum says, “During the Meiji period the journal Bungei Kurabu (The Literary Club) emerged to revitalize the tradition of color woodblock prints as frontispiece illustrations (kuchi-e) for works of modern fiction.” 

Mizuno became a skilled illustrator. Hence, he would work for Yamato Shinbun (newspaper in Tokyo)in this field. Thus Mizuno was a real Jack-of-all-trades while producing delightful art. Therefore, similar to the dynamics of the Meiji Period, Mizuno was equally dynamic in his own world.

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