Japanese Woodblock Prints by Shinsui Ito

Born in Tokyo. Original name Ito Hajime. Started working in drawing department of a Tokyo printing company at age 12; then studied with Kaburagi Kiyokata. Well known as Japanese-style painter; exhibited at Bunten, Teiten, and Nitten. Discovered by Watanabe Shozaburo in 1916; Watanabe and Shinsui collaborated for 25 years; Watanabe exported hundreds of Shinsui prints. Shinsui’s landscape series Eight Views of Lake Biwa (Omi Hakkei), 1917-1918, inspired Kawase Hasui, another prolific collaborator with Watanabe. Shinsui’s early prints of bijin-ga, among his finest, include the series Twelve Figures of New Beauties (Shin bijin juni sugata), 1922-1923. After the 1923 Kanto earthquake he continued to make many prints of bijin-ga including 2 series of 12 prints each entitled Collection of Modern Beauties (Gendai bijin shu), 1929-1931 and 1931-1936. Concurrently exhibited Japanese-style paintings and created book and magazine illustrations. Also produced several sets of landscapes of Japan including Twelve Views of Oshima (Oshima junikei), 1937-1938, Three Views of Mt. Fuji (Fuji sankei), 1938-1939, and prints of Indonesia where he was briefly posted during Pacific War. During bombing of Tokyo he evacuated to Komoro in Nagano prefecture which he made the setting of Ten Views of Shinano (Shinano jikkei), 1948. A few Shinsui prints were also published by Isetatsu, the Yomiuri Newspaper Company, and Katsumura. In 1952 his woodblock designing skill was designated an Intangible Cultural Property and a special commemorative moku-hanga entitled Tresses was issued. Appointed to Japan Art Academy 1958; awarded Order of the Rising Sun 1970.** Taken in whole, or in part, with permission from: Merritt, Helen and Nanako Yamada. Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975. University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu. 1992.

Shinsui, Ito, 1898-1972
In Broad Daylight


Shinsui, Ito, 1898-1972
Woman in Long Undergarment