Japan art and Komura Settai: Son of Kawagoe
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Japanese artist Komura Settai (1887-1940) was born in Kawagoe in the prefecture of Saitama. This place today is still famous for old-style houses and workplaces. Accordingly, Kawagoe is called “Little Edo.” Therefore, despite being not so far from Tokyo, Kawagoe continues to be blessed with its independent style in modern Japan.
Internationally, Komura remains not so well known. However, he produced stunning cover designs, high-level book illustrations, Japanese-style designs, and shin hanga (new prints) art.
The Shiseido Art House says, “Komura Settai (Taisuke) was born in Kawagoe, Saitama prefecture and attended Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts), where he studied under Shimomura Kanzan. After graduating he worked at the studio producing the art journal Kokka making copies of older paintings and pictures. From 1918 to 1923 he was a member of the nascent Shiseido design department, in charge of Japanese-style designs, and was also one of those involved in creating the “Shiseido typeface” still in use today.”
Shin hanga artists continued to focus on bijinga (beautiful women), flowers, birds, landscapes, birds, and other classical angles concerning Japanese prints that began in the Edo Period. However, technological developments and a different aesthetic angle enabled shin hanga to blossom during his lifetime.
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