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Biography Taninaka, Yasunori (1897 - 1946)

Having spent part of his childhood in Korea, Taninaka Yasunori settled in Tokyo in 1922. He then read Nagase Yoshio's book "To People Who Want to Make Prints (Hanga o tsukuru hito e)", and decided to become a print artist. Early 1927 he studied with Nagase Yoshio for a while, and then, in 1928, he had his first exhibition with the S˘saku Hanga Ky˘kai. The print magazine "Shiro to kuro" had a special issue (#40) devoted to his work, and he contributed to other magazines and print series as well. He was especially loved and appreciated by his colleague artists. He lived in a dreamworld of his own, and he couldn't make a living as he had no regular employment. Onchi K˘shir˘ and another friend helped out from time to time. Disaster struck when he lost his home in a bombing raid on Tokyo in 1945. He was unable to fend for himself, his only source of food being the pumpkins in his garden, and in spite of more help from Onchi he died of malnutrition in September 1946. Twenty years after his death his work was rediscovered, and only then was his highly personal and poetic style recognized and appreciated. The full story of his life had best be read in Helen Merritt's "Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints - The Early Years".




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