Biographies of japanese print makers


Biography Nakajima, Kiyoshi (1943 - )

Nakajima Kiyoshi (中島 潔) was born in Manchuria, N.E. China, in April 1943. After the war his parents went to Saga (N.W. Kyūshū), and he attended the Nishi Karatsu Prefectural High School. On the eve of his graduation, when he was 18 years old, his mother died of cancer. His father remarried two months afterwards.
In a state of shock Nakajima Kiyoshi was unable to take his college entrance exam. Instead he sat on the beach, throwing bottles with letters to his deceased mother into the sea.
In 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympics, he moved to Tokyo and threw himself into the world of advertising. Part of his meagre earnings went to his sister, who was still at high school (and penniless). In Tokyo he also took a part-time job as a cartoonist.
When he was 28 he moved to Paris, where he attended art school. Gradually he developed as a painter, and in 1982 he became famous, when an exhibition of his paintings travelled throughout Japan. He was dubbed "wind painter", or "painter of the wind" (風の画家 - kaze no gaka) by the art critic Susumu Abe, an epithet that has clung to him ever since.
In 1987, in Bologna, he won the International Children's Book Exhibition graphics award.
In 1998 he concluded a widely acclaimed series of paintings illustrating the Tale of Genji. In 2003 he went back to France to spend some time painting there.

Nakajima Kiyoshi is mainly known as a painter, and as an illustrator of children's books. Apart from that he made a limited series of woodblock prints showing young girls, mostly in a melancholy mood.

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