Tsuchiya Koitsu Biography

Tsuchiya Koitsu




The woodblock prints of Tsuchiya Koitsu (1890-1949) are notable for their dramatic use of light and shadow. Born near Hamamatsu with the name "Koichi", Koitsu moved to Tokyo at age of fifteen. He planned to apprentice with a woodblock carver named Matsuzaki who worked for the artist Kobayashi Kiyochika. Instead, he became Kiyochika's student and moved into his home to study art and print design. Koitsu lived there for 19 years, working and studying with Kiyochika. Much of his skill at depicting light can be attributed to his studies with Kiyochika.

During 1894-95, Koitsu designed several war prints for the Sino-Japanese war efforts. He later worked as a lithographer. In 1931, Koitsu met the publisher Watanabe at an exhibition commemorating the work of Kiyochika. The following year he designed the first of many prints for Watanabe, titled Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gion. He went on to design ten prints for Watanabe. Koitsu also designed numerous prints for the publisher Doi Teiichi, as well as several other publishers including Kawaguchi & Sakai, Baba Nobuhiko, and Takemura.

Tsuchiya Koitsu designed shin hanga landscape prints during the same time as the landscape artist Ishiwata Koitsu, but the two men were not related. Their works are sometimes confused since artisans signed both works "Koitsu". However, the styles of their woodblock prints are distinctive.  

This bio on Koitsu is from the hanga gallery: Koitsu.

The complete works of Tsuchiya Koitsu can be viewed at www.koitsu.com.