Undated photo of artist
Hatsuyama Shigeru 初山滋 (1897-1973)
In 1916, at the age of nineteen, he left Sengai's employ and began living with the kabuki actor Shuchō Bandō III for whom he did varied tasks, even trying his hand, unsuccessfully, at acting. After several years in Shuchō's employ he went back to fabric dyeing, reaching an understanding with his employer that he would be allowed time to study art. During the two years he spent at the dye shop Hatsuyama got his first exposure to woodblock prints from one of the dyers made woodblock prints as a hobby. During the time working for Shuchō and at the dye shop, Hatsuyama regularly submitted his drawings to periodicals and was regularly turned down, but in 1919 he was hired as an illustrator for the children's magazine Otogi no sekai (Fairy World), which he contributed to until its closing in October 1923. As Hatsuyama explained to Statler, "The salary wasn’t enough to feed the family – my mother and young brother and me – and there were some rough times, but I got my start then and I’ve been doing children’s illustrations ever since."
Hatsuyama goes on to say: “I started prints at about the same time. A publisher who lived in our neighborhood, Ryōji Kumata (1899-1982) (a.k.a. Ryōji Chōmei), was enthusiastic about creative (sosaku) hanga and as a hobby put out a magazine of creative prints called Han Geijutsu (Print Art), often doing the printing himself from artists’ blocks. At his urging I made my first prints. The magazine was never a commercial success, but it did a great deal to encourage modern prints.”
In the mid-thirties, as Japanese society became more and more militarized, he stopped making illustrations (including his serialized illustrated stories in the Tokyo Asahi Shinbun) because he objected to creating propaganda pictures for children, and he devoted his energy to prints instead. He was a member of Onchi Kōshirō's (1891-1955) Ichimokukai (First Thursday Society), formed in 1939, and in 1944 he became a member of the Nihon Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Print Association.) After the war he went back to illustrating and book design but remained active as a woodblock print artist, concentrating on pictures for children or with children as subjects.
Collections (Partial List)
Art Institute of Chicago; Honolulu Academy of Arts; Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Cleveland Museum of Art; Carnegie Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; The British Museum; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Prints in Collection
click on thumbnail for print details