Biographies of japanese print makers


Biography Ishiwata, Koitsu (1897 - 1987)

In his youth, Ishiwata studied textile design and Nihonga style painting with his brother-in-law, Igusa Senshin. His meeting with Kawase Hasui in 1917 stimulated his interest in designing woodblock prints.
Following the catastrophic 1923 earthquake, Ishiwata began his artistic career as a textile designer for the department store Nozawaya, located in the smaller city of Yokohama. The area around Yokohama would later become the subject of many of his landscape prints. Around 1930, Ishiwata left his successful design position to join the publishing studio of Watanabe Shôzaburô. He studied print design with Kawase Hasui and, in 1931, Watanabe published Ishiwata's first series on village life. Unfortunately Ishiwata's designs were not very popular with Western customers, perhaps because they were darker and more realistic than the romantic ideals created by Hasui. Ishiwata's prints focused on ordinary activities like buying groceries or getting a haircut. He did not omit unpleasant details like dilapidated buildings or electrical poles.
In 1935, Ishiwata left Watanabe's studio to work with the publisher Katô Junji. He designed a series on Japanese toys (Omocha e shu) that year and a series on hot springs resorts (Onsen fukei) in 1940. In later works for Katô, he combined the use of woodblock and stencil techniques.

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