Japan art and Sakuichi Fukazawa: Sosaku Hanga
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Japanese artist Sakuichi Fukazawa (1896–1947) was a highly acclaimed woodblock printer and painter who was born in the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Hence, Fukazawa developed his art during the Taisho Period and the early Showa era.
Fukazawa belongs to the Sosaku Hanga (creative prints) art movement. He moved to Tokyo when relatively young after being born in Niigata Prefecture. Despite Suwa Kanenori (1897–1932) being one year younger than Fukazawa – he mentored him in the craft of this art form.
The Krannert Art Museum (the University of Illinois) says, “Modern Japanese printmakers sought creative freedom and became the sole makers of their woodblock prints. Two styles within the movement, shin hanga (“new prints”) and sosaku hanga (“creative prints”), grew increasingly abstract with the modernization of Japan and the influence of the West...”
Fukazawa focused on designing Western-style covers for books. He began this angle in 1924. However, it wasn’t until the middle of the following decade that Fukazawa began to develop this angle of his work. Therefore, producing sosaku hanga and book covers took up a lot of his time until he died relatively young in 1947.
The Saru Gallery says, “That he was held in high regard by his contemporaries is proved by the fact that he contributed 13 prints to the important series One hundred views of new Tokyo – Shin Tokyo hyakkei, which was published between 1929 and 1932.”
The British Museum says, “His style is rather abbreviated and lonely, and his cutting and printing technique, according to Onchi (Onchi, 1965, pp. 3-34), unusually soft, shallow and smooth.”
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