Tomikichiro Tokuriki Biography

Tomikichiro Tokuriki




Printmaker and painter Tomikichiro Tokuriki was born on March 22, 1902 in Kyoto, Japan, into a family of artisans who represented the Honganji Temple in Kyoto; Tokuriki was a 12th generation representative. His artistic education began as a child under his grandfather's tutelage; when he was of age, he attended the Kyoto City Specialist School of Painting in a two-year preparatory class that focused on Western Painting, followed by four years of general training at the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts, graduating in 1924.

While in college, Tokuriki began to work in sosaku hanga printmaking, or "creative prints" printmaking established in Japan in the early 20th century. Like Modernism in the West, it was an art movement that broke away from rigid tradition and encouraged self-expression. Tokuriki learned the techniques of woodblock with the assistance of a master carver and printer, and joined the Hanga Association where he met other artists of the sosaku hanga movement such as Hiratsuka, Masao Maeda, Kihachiro Shimozawa and others. His work would run the gamut from Western-style Modernis to traditional imagery, with as much time spent on figurative works, erotic ex-libris, scenes from villages in Europe as well as Japanese imagery.

To earn a living, Tokuriki also created shin hanga, Japanese landscapes and popular scenes that appealed to tourists and wealthy collectors. Following World War II he established the Matsukyu Publishing Company, printing and publishing his own works as well as other sosaku and shin hanga artists. This helped secure his place in Kyoto as a leading contemporary printmaker and he soon exhibited throughout Japan and Europe, and in the 1960's he opened several exhibitions of his artworks in major US cities Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

In his hometown, Tokuriki lived in a 200 year-old house, where he had a large garden with cherry blossom trees. In his home he had a studio where he taught his students, and among them were students from overseas.

Tomikichiro Tokuriki died in 2000. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others.