Okano Sakae

Photo of the artist, 1912

Okano Sakae 岡野栄 (1880-1942)


Sources: Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, Merritt, Helen and Nanako Yamada, University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu, 1992 p. 118; A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976, p. 125 and as footnoted. 

Primarily known as an illustrator and manga artist, Okano graduated from the Western-style painting department of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1902.  He also studied under Kuroda Seiki at the Hakubakai (White Horse Society) and went on to be a founder of its successor association, the Kōfūkai, in 1912.  He taught for many years at as Gakushuin Women’s College.

From 1925 to 1927 he was in Europe on a research mission for the Imperial Household Agency, spending time in France and Italy.  

He contributed to a number of sketch tour books including the five volume Sketches and Travel Notes on Japanese Sights (Nihon meishō shasei kikō 日本名勝写生紀行), published 1909-1912, volume 1 of which is shown below.  This work was a collaboration along with four other Hakubakai artists,  Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1880-1942 ), Yamamoto Morinosuke (1877-1928), Kobayashi Shōkichi  (1887-1946) and Atomi Tai (1884-1953).  Okano did the cover designs for each volume in an art nouveau style. For the cover of Volume 1, shown below, Okano presents the seals of the five artists along with a caricature of each artist.  Okano’s “ei” 栄 seal appears second from the left. 

The woodcuts for the entire series were cut by Igami Bonkotsu and printed mainly by Nishimura Kumakichi, with the assistance of Nakamura Sanjirō and Oyama Kangorō.1

Okano's illustrations also appeared in Nippon'ichi no Ebanshi, a 35-volume set of picture books written by Sazanami Iwaya published between September 1911 and September 19152 and Yonen gahō (Children's Illustrated Journal).

1 Sketch-tour Books and Prints of the Early Twentieth Century, Scott Johnson appearing on the website of Boston Book Company.

2 Osaka Human Sciences, Vol. 14, March 2015, Osaka University of Human Sciences, p. 136.

Cover, Volume 1 of Sketches and Travel Notes on Japanese Sights

Cover illustration by Okano Sakae for Usagi no Sekai


(The World of Rabbits)

Illustration titled hinanoosekku from Yonen gahō (Young Children's Pictorial), Vol. 3, No. 3

Artist's Signatures and Seals (a sampling)


last updated:11-14-2023

Prints in Collection

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