Takao Hiwasaki Biography

Takao Hiwasaki




Printmaker Takao Hiwasaki was born in Tochi Prefecture, Japan, on July 31, 1941. He graduated from the Musashino University of Art (then known as the Musashino Art School) with a degree in Western painting in 1963 and held his first solo exhibition in 1966 at the Yoseido Gallery in Tokyo. At this time he formed an interest in woodengraving after reading Onchi Koshiro's book on Japanese printmaking, Nihon no gendai hanga. He began to teach himself the technique and it soon became his primary medium. In 1968 he participated in the Sixth International Biennial Exhibition of Prints in Tokyo.

Hiwasaki is credited with reviving the woodengraving technique in Japan, where it was introduced by Britain in the Meiji period as a means of quickly reproducing works before falling out of favor with the arrival of photomechanical methods. He taught himself the medium in the 1960s as a fine art technique rather than for reproduction, applying his Modernist, sometimes Surrealist styles to his compositions. This inspired the formation of the group Nomi no Kai (The Chisels) by admirers and followers of the technique, which helped launch Japan's woodengraving renaissance in the 1970s; it remains a vital spectrum of the Japanese printmaking world today.

Hiwasaki won the Japanese Print Association's "New Face" award in 1966 and it's annual award in 1967. In 1991 he won the Yamauchi Gen grand prize award. He was instrumental in launching the Kochi Triennial and a scholarship was made in his honor following his death. Hiwasaki died of esophageal cancer on April 29, 1992.