Gihachiro Okuyama Biography

Gihachiro Okuyama



Gihachiro Okuyama, born in Japan in 1907, was an extremely prolific Japanese print artist who worked in a variety of different styles. He began his career in the late 1920s designing woodblock prints for commercial purposes. His work included posters and advertisements for the Japan Wool Company and Nikka Whiskey.

In 1931, Okuyama founded the Tokyo Advertisement Art Association, whose name was later changed to Tokyo Advertising Creator's Club (Tokyo Kokoku Sakka Kurabu). Okuyama's interests were not limited to the commercial aspects of printmaking. From 1923 to 1933, he studied with Ishii Kendo, learning about the traditions of Japanese printmaking and ukiyo-e. In 1932, he was one of many artists who contributed to the print series "One Hundred Views of Great Tokyo" (Dai Tokyo hyakkei), published by Nihon Fukei Hangakai.

Sometime early in his career, Okuyama's prints were published by the Kyoto Hanga-in. In 1946 he established a publishing firm called Nihorn Hanga Kenkyusho, the Japan Print Institute, which published his woodblock prints along with reproductions of ukiyo-e artists, especially Hiroshige. In 1954, Okuyama established his own publishing studio called the Kaneda Shoten, where he became production manager, creating new hanga from original paintings

During the late 1950's, Okuyama made a series of woodblock prints based on well-known European paintings, several of which were by Vincent Van Gogh. These prints were signed by Okuyama in English. He also soon founded Okuyama Hanga Kobo, where he would design and publish his own landscape prints.Like the woodblock prints of his contemporary, Shiro Kasamatsu, Okuyama's work ranges from traditional idealized shin hanga to rough, self-published designs with a more abstract quality. Okuyama is estimated to have produced more than 1000 prints in his lifetime.

Gihachiro Okuyama died in Japan in 1981.