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Around Ochanomizu (Kanda River) from the series The Face of Tokyo


Japanese Woodblock Print

Around Ochanomizu (Kanda River)

from the series The Face of Tokyo

by Kitaoka Fumio, 1949

IHL Cat. #626

About This Print

Picturing the Kanda River running through the Tokyo neighborhood of Ochanomizu, Kitaoka has titled this print お茶の水附近 (Ochanomizu fukin), translated as "Around Ochanomizu" and dated it 1949.  The gallery label accompanying this print identifies the print as coming from the series 戦後風俗 (Sengo fuuzoku), translated as "Post-war Life and Customs".  The Museum of Modern Art Tokyo titles this print 版画集「東京の顔 No.1」より 2.神田川 (2.The Kanda River from The Face of Tokyo No.1) and dates it to 1950.

KITAOKA, Fumio   1918 - 2007
2.The Kanda River from "The Face of Tokyo No.1" 1950
woodcut on paper, 12.2×15.2 cm
M00107-002 The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Fumio Kitaoka 1918-2007
Face of Tokyo - Kanda River
From the series, "Tokyo no Kao" (The Face of Tokyo)
artelino Japanese prints website archive

This collection's print and images of the 1950 dated print appear to be identical and it is possible that a second printing was done by Kitaoka to create the five-part portfolio The Face of Tokyo.  Kitaoka used a mica impregnated paper for this 1949 print and the print that makes up the 1950 portfolio.

Today - the Kanda River from Ochanomizu

The Portfolio The Face of Tokyo

This beautifully designed and, unfortunately, overlooked series portrays post-war Tokyo in the social-realist style that Kitaoka embraced after the war and later rejected, telling Statler "I rebelled against their [Japan's proletarian artists] subjugation of art to politics..."1

Six prints in the series, noted in the below list of titles in the portfolio, were printed in color and the remainder were monochrome prints.

For other prints in the Collection from this series see Playing Bingo, Outside Shinjuku Station, the West Exit and Behind the Stage.

Images of the entire series, titles listed below, are in the collection of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and can be viewed at the website of the Independent Administrative Institution National Museum of Art at http://search.artmuseums.go.jp/search_e/sakuhin_list.php?sakka=601

"The Face of Tokyo No.1", 1950
1.The Jimbocho Bookstore District
2.The Kanda River
3.The Unemployment Office in Iidabashi
4.A Night Game of Baceball [sic] (color woodblock)
5.The Nikkatsu Movie Theater in Kanda

"The Face of Tokyo No.2", 1950
1.Playing Bingo
2.Outside Shinjuku Station, the East Exit
3.Shinjuku at Night (color woodblock)
4.Outside Shinjuku Station, the West Exit
5.The Shinjuku Imperial Garden (color woodblock)

"The Face of Tokyo No.3", 1950
1.Sukiyabashi Bridge
2.Ginza in Christmas Season
3.Hibiya Park (color woodblock)
4.Strip Show at the Nichigeki Theater
5.Under the Railroad Overpass at Yurakucho

The Face of Tokyo No.4" , 1951
1.City at Rest
2.Ginza at New Year
3.Ginza on a Rainy Day (color woodblock)
4.Behind the Stage
5.Back Street of Ginza at New Year

"The Face of Tokyo No.5" , 1951
1.Inside Ueno Station
2.Step Leading to Ueno Park
3.Shinobazu Pond (color woodblock)
4.The Ameyoko District
5.Ueno Zoo

1 Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn, Oliver Statler, Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1956, p.153.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #626
 Title  Around Ochanomizu (お茶の水附近 Ochanomizu fukin) Alternate title The Kanda River 神田川
 Series  originally issued as part of the series Post-war life & customs (戦後風俗 Sengo fuuzoku) and in 1950 as part of the portfolio The Face of Tokyo (No. 1) 版画集「東京の顔
 Kitaoka Fumio (1918-2007)
 pencil signed by artist "F. Kitaoka" in English below the image and printed "F.K." lower right corner of image.
 Seal  unsealed
 Publication Date  1949
 Edition  unnumbered
 Publisher  self-published
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent - print was professionally conserved to remove foxing and mat line
 Genre  sosaku hanga (creative print)
 Miscellaneous  paper is mica impregnated
 H x W Paper  7 1/2 x 9 in. (19.1 x 22.92 cm)
 H x W Image  4 3/4 x 6 in.  (12.1 x 15.2 cm)
 Collections This Print  The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo M00107-002
 Reference Literature