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Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908)

Prints in Collection



Kojima Takanori from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition
IHL Cat. #1403 

 
Yamanouchi Kazutoyo no tsuma from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition,
August 1888

IHL Cat. #599

Katagiri Shōichi from Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition
IHL Cat. #1033
 


Takayama Hikokurō from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition
 




Biographical Data

Biography

Mizuno Toshikata 水野年方 (1866-1908)
(artist names): Ōsai 応斉 and Shōsetsu 蔗雪 (these are often used in the artist's seals)

Sources: : Artelino website http://www.artelino.com/forum/artists.asp?act=&art=132&alp=g&cay=1&cp=1&sea=&tie=Ginko%20Adachi%20active%201874-1897 ; Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1992; The Sino-Japanese War, Nathan Chaikin, self-published, 1983, pg. 36; Imperial Japan: The Art of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Frederick Baekeland, Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, 1980, p. 136; The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, Julia Meech-Pekarik, Weatherhill, 1986, p. 220-221; The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints, Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing Company, 2005, p. 251, 253; International Fine Print Dealers Association website http://www.printdealers.com/content/node/2225; Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture, Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, University of Hawaii Press, 2000, p. 209-210 and as footnoted.

Toshikata was born Mizuno Kumajirō in 1866 in the Yamamoto-chō in the Kanda district of Tokyo to a plasterer's family. When he was about thirteen years old his father, Nonaka Kichigoro, sent him to study with Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892), but his father removed him from Yoshitoshi's studio and sent him to a relative of his mother to earn his living as a painter of ceramics.1  In 1882, however, he returned to Yoshitoshi's studio. Yoshitoshi would give him the character toshi (年 or its variant 秊) from his own name as the first character of his art name Toshikata and eventually designate him as his successor. Yoshitoshi is also said to have passed his artist seals along to Toshikata2. He also apprenticed for a time with the ceramic painter Yamada Ryūtō and studied traditional Japanese painting (nanga) with Shibata Hōshū and Watanabe Shōtei (aka Watanabe Seitei, 1851-1918). 

In 1887, on Yoshitoshi's recommendation, he succeeded Yoshitoshi as the illustrator at the newspaper Yamato shimbun, where he achieved acclaim.  He worked at the Yamato shimbum until 1894.  During the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), which brought about a brief resurgence of woodblock printmaking, he created a large body of work depicting battle scenes.  His work is some of the best to be produced during that period. 

He was active as a painter of genre and historical subjects, receiving awards of merit in 1898, 1899, 1900 and 1902 at the joint Japan Art Institute/Japan Painting Association (Nihon Bijutsuin/Nihon Kaiga Kyokai) exhibition and was active in the Japan Art Society (Nihon Bijutsu Kyōkai), and the Japan Painting Society (Nihon Kaiga Kyōkai) and the Academy of Japanese Art (Nippon Bijutsuin).

As times became difficult for Japanese printmakers, with ukiyo-e printmaking falling out of style due to the introduction of photography and lithography, Toshikata turned toward the design of illustrations for novels (kuchi-e), literary journals, such as Bungei kurabu, Miyako no hana (Flower of the capital) and Shin shosetsu (New novel), and the design of fashion plates for department stores, such as the series Mitsukoshi: Brocades of the Capital (Mitsukoshi miyako no nishiki, 1905-6), which advertised Meiji fashions for the Mitsui Department Store. 

Toshikata published a number of series of bijin prints and genre scenes, featuring women and children, including print sets such as Thirty-six Types of Beauty (Sanjurokkasen), 1891, published by Kokkedio and Ancient Beauties (Kodai bijin).  Sato Shotaro and Akiyama Buemon were two of his main publishers. After the turn of the century, Toshikata remained a well-known painter, printmaker and illustrator and is credited with raising the status of painters from the ukiyo-e lineage.

Toshikata's role as a teacher is significant.  His students Kaburagi Kiyokata (1878-1973), Ikeda Terukata (1883-1921) and Ikeda Shoen (1888-1917) are known today as successful Nihonga bijinga painters and print designers.  He also had a number of women students, including his wife, Mizuno Hidekata (nee Ichikawa), and Ikeda Shoen. 

He was demanding of his students and did not encourage freedom of expression.   Although he cared deeply about the status of ukiyo-e, his heart was in historical painting.  As a young man he lived in Kanda and studied tokiwazu, the shamisen music that accompanied joruri (a type of sung narrative with shamisen accompaniment, typically found in bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppet theater) performance.  In 1895, having achieved some success as a painter he moved to Yanaka Shimizu-cho.  In his new home he practiced archery, yokyoku (noh chanting), and the game of go, all avocations related to historical painting.  He died in April 1908 at age forty-two, reportedly from overwork.

1 The New Wave: Twentieth-century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, Amy Reigle Stephens, Bamboo Publishing Ltd, London & Hotei-Japanese Prints, Leiden, 1993, p. 92.
Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, John Stevenson, Hotei Publishing, 2001. p. 36.


Artist Signatures (a sampling)

Notes: 応需 ōju [by request]

 
応需年方
ōju Toshikata ga unread seal
 
應需年方絵
ōju Toshikata-e
年方
 sealed Toshikata, 1895
 
應需年方絵
ōju Toshikata-e
 with Toshikata-e seal, 1895
 
應需年方絵
ō
ju Toshikata-e with Ōsai seal, 1895
 
応需年方
ōju Toshikata
応斎年方
Ōsai Toshikata seal
 
需年方絵
ō
ju Toshikata-e


年方
Toshikata with Shosetsu-Toshikata seal
 
年方
Toshikata
応需
sealed Ōsai
 
年方
Toshikata
応需
sealed Ōsai
 
年方
Toshikata
年方
 Toshikata seal
 
年方
Toshikata
年方
 Toshikata seal
 
年方
Toshikata
年方
Toshikata seal

 
応需年方
ōju Toshikata
年方
sealed Toshikata


應需年方絵
ōju Toshikata-e
蕉雪
sealed Sh
ō and Setsu 
 
年方
Toshikata seal

年方
Toshikata

年方
Toshikata
応斎 年方
sealed Ōsai and Toshikata
 
年方
Toshikata
年方蕉雪
sealed Toshikata and Shōsetsu





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