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Yu-no-hama Onsen from the series More, More and More Hot Spring Notes

White Plum from the book Nihon no Hana

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Yu-no-hama Onsen

from the series More, More and More Hot Spring Notes

by Maekawa Senpan, 1956

White Plum from the book Nihon no Hana

IHL Cat. #1359

About This Print

From Senpan's fourth set of prints picturing Japanese onsens.  This print depicts a gentleman in a trench coat sitting with two traditionally dressed women on the rocks overlooking the Yu-no-hama hot springs resort along the coast of Yamagata.  To quote from a current-day advertisement about these hot sprints:
Warming yourself up with a soak in this hot spring after swimming in the ocean and playing water sports on a beach of white sand and clear blue skies is a truly unique experience. Because this hot spring is along the ocean, the seafood is exquisite. After you’re done enjoying the hot spring, you can have a romantic evening eating delicious seafood while watching the sun set into the ocean.
Yu-no-hama today

The Trench Coat Man

I wonder if the seated gentleman in a trench coat in this print is a reappearance of the man in a trenchcoat from Maekawa's 1946 print Night of Shinjuku from the series Scenes of Last Tokyo.  (See IHL Cat. #619 for this print.)
left: detail from the 1946 print Night of Shinjuku
right. detail from the 1956 print Yu-no-hama Onsen

About the Series Hot Spring Notes
One of his most famous series of prints, Woodblock Prints, Hot Spring Notes (Hanga yokusen fu), depicts various hot springs around Japan. It was published in five volumes of twenty prints each, with each print having an accompanying commentary sheet (see example below), over an 18 year period, starting in 1941 when Maekawa was evacuated to Okayama in southwest Honshu and ending in 1959.

A page from Woodblock Prints, Hot Spring Notes 版畫浴泉譜1941

Merritt states that most of the prints were started during the war but could not be published until the war was over.  She notes that although his countrymen are depicted at one of their favorite pastimes, spa going for rest and relaxation, "the feeling is not joyous," due to Maekawa's use of somber colors.1  The general demeanor of the spa goers is also somber in many of the prints. 

However, writing in 1955, Oliver Statler found Senpan's spa prints "some of his pleasantest prints" and praised Senpan's "connoisseur's selection from the country's hundreds of hot spring resorts."2

1 Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints - The Early Years, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, p. 221.
2 "Modern Japanese Creative Prints," Oliver Statler, appearing in Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 11, No. 2 (July, 1955), Sophia University, p. 27. 

A Listing of All the Prints in the Five Sets
See Tsuta Onsen from the series More, More and More Hot Spring Notes.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1359
 Title/Description Yu-no-hama Onsen 湯野浜温泉 [title as printed on adjoining sheet]
 Series More, More and More Hot Spring Notes (続 続 続 浴泉譜 Zoku, zoku, zoku yokusen fu)
 Maekawa Senpan (1888-1960)
 not signed (None of the prints in this series are signed or sealed.)
 not sealed
 Publication Date 1956
 Publisher Nihon Aishokai 日本愛書会 
 Note: Nihon Aishokai was owned by Shimo Tarō.  The firm's oirignal name was  Aoi Shobō アオイ
書房 and it was renamed Nihon Aishokai after moving to Okayama during WWII.
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent 
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative prints)
 H x W Paper 15 3/8 x 11 11/16 in. (39.1 x 29.7 cm )
 H x W Image 8 1/4 x 8 5/16 in. (21 x 21.1 cm)    
 Reference Literature Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1992, p. 253-255. 
 Collections This Print Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco 1965.68.101
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