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Shichmenzan and Mount Fuji from the series Twenty-Five Views of Mount Fuji: A Woodblock Collection

Jōkata Kaiseki (1882-1966)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Shichimenzan and Mount Fuji

from the series Twenty-Five Views of Mount Fuji:

A Woodblock Collection

by Jōkata Kaiseki, 1931

Benten Island, Lake Hamana and Mount Fuji from the series Twenty-Five Views of Mount Fuji: A Woodblock Collection

IHL Cat. #2002

About This Print

One of twenty-five prints in the series Twenty-Five Views of Mount Fuji: A Woodblock Collection, published by the artist in 1931. In this print the sun rises above Fuji as a family who has made the climb up Mount Shichimen looks on.  During the equinoxes, it appears as though the sun is rising out of Fuji's crater and this view may be set during the autumn equinox.  Two pilgrims can be seen in the bottom left heading down from this viewing area.  The signboard on the right reads 日天子 遙拝 月天子 七面山 and there is a round directional finder to the left of the family indicating the four cardinal directions.

Shichimenzan, a mountain in Yamanashi Prefecture, is sacred to Nichiren Buddhism.

日天子 遙拝 月天子 七面山

About This Series

As mentioned in the artist's biography, there is some confusion about whether Jōkata created one or two series of prints with views of Mt. Fuji.  While a number of sources refer to a ca. 1929 twelve print series of views of Fuji, the only documentation I've seen is for the 1931 twenty-five print series, which includes all twelve prints supposedly making up the 1929 series.  While the author quoted below references the twelve print 1929 series, the words equally apply to the 1931 series.

In the 1920s and 1930s the constituent parts of old and new Japan often collided.  As with writers of the period, print artists frequently focused on this friction between the past and present.  Jōkata Kaiseki's twelve print series Views of Fuji from 1929 ... sights a symbol of traditional Japan through the lens of modernity.  [A]irplanes and power poles are placed alongside such traditional emblems as farmhouses and rural villages.  Kaiseki, an artist known only through this series, was likely familiar with the ukiyo-e tradition.  By "hiding" Mt. Fuji in his compositions, he alludes to Hokusai's classic Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji (Fuji sanjūrokkei) of 1828-1833 in which Mt. Fuji is sometimes viewed through a barrel or from under an arched wooden bridge.  Kaiseki's Mt. Fuji, a symbol of traditional Japan, exists in a world which contains modern elements.1

For more information on the series see the section titled "The Kaiseki Mount Fuji Prints" on the artist's bio page Jōkata Kaiseki (1882-1966).

1 "The Cultural Landscape: Modernity and its Ideological Reaction," by Alexandra J. Marmion appearing in Light in Darkness: Women in Japanese Prints of Early Shōwa (1926-1945), Kendall H. Brown, et. al., Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, 1996, p. 21.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2002
 Title Shichimenzan and Mount Fuji 七面山と富士 [title as given in the table of contents accompanying the entire series]
 Series Twenty-Five Views of Mount Fuji: Woodblock Collection
 木版画集 富士二十五景
 Jōkata Kaiseki (1882-1966)
塊石筆 Kaiseki hitsu
 Seal sealed 塊石 Kaiseki [see image above]
 Publication Date 1931
 Publisher self-published under the name Kaiseki Print Publishing Society  塊石版画刊行会
 Printer unknown
 Carver Kawatsura Yoshio (1880-1963)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - light toning throughout; paper remnants verso along top from original folio mounting
 Genre sosaku-hanga (creative print)
 Format dai-ōban
 H x W Paper 10 9/16 x 13 7/8 in. (26.8 x 35.2 cm)
 H x W Image 10 9/16 x 13 7/8 in. (26.8 x 35.2 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature