Inagaki Nenjiro Biography

Inagaki Nenjiro




Painter, printmaker, and textile designer Inagaki Nenjiro (often called Nenjiro Inagaki, "Inagaki" being his surname) was born Inagaki Toshijiro in Kyoto, Japan, on March 3, 1902. His father was painter Takejiro Inagaki and his brother was nihanga painter Chusei Inagaki. Nenjiro Inagaki graduated from the Kyoto City University of Arts in March of 1922, and soon after began work at the Matsuzakaya department store as a fabric dyer. This led to his interest in dye-printed screen "paintings" made in the yuzen method, using rice paste to prevent color transfer to chosen portions of the fabric. He left the department store in 1931 and pursued his own career in design and art, and he became known for his kimono designs.

In the 1950s Inagaki worked briefly in woodcuts, creating a handful of prints for the Mikumo Mokuhansha publishing house. Though they were color woodcuts, they were printed from one block with the different inks painted onto the block before printing. Many of these were published posthumously in the 1960s, the name "Mikuna" signed by the publisher in addition to the artist's red seal. In 1958 he became a professor at Kyoto Municiple Fine Arts College.

In 1962, the year before his death, Inagaki was given the title of "Ningen Kokuho," National Living Treasure, by the Japanese government, his work falling under the catgory of Intangible Cultural Property. Inagaki died in 1963.