Japan art and Toshikata Mizuno: Great influencer

Japan art and Toshikata Mizuno: Great influencer

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Toshikata Mizuno (1866-1908) was born before the passing of the Edo Period. Thus Mizuno belongs to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) of history. However, he was a notable influencer of many future Japanese artists concerning the Taisho Period and the early Showa era. 

Mizuno began printmaking when a young teenager. He developed initially under Tsukioka Yoshitoshi concerning printmaking and ceramics. Further artistic development continued related to Shibata Hoshu and Watanabe Seitei (Maruyama-Shijo-style).

The Ota Memorial Museum of art says, “Toshikata became an associate member of the Japan Art Academy, led by Okakura Tenshin, and discussed with fellow painters such as Yokoyama Taikan and Hishida Shunsō about producing a new style of Japanese painting. Considering that his line of pupils include Ito Shinsui, it can be said that Toshikata had a considerable impact on Japanese-style paintings of the Taishō and Shōwa periods.”

Interestingly, many notable artists in Japan are associated with Mizuno relating to many aspects of art. For example, teaching pupils, traditional style networking, and creating new styles of Japanese painting. Therefore, Mizuno inspired people long after he parted from this world.

Mizuno focused on bijin-ga (portraits of beautiful women), history, and the military angle of the Meiji Period. He also produced newspaper illustrations. 

He influenced notable artists, including Ito Shinsui and Kaburagi Kiyokata. Equally important, Mizuno discussed the need to create new Japanese-style paintings with Yokoyama Taikan, Hishida Shunsō, and several other important artists. Therefore, his legacy is potent despite not being a household name outside of Japan.


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