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1950-1960

History

The 1950s were a period of reform and reconstruction. Already a few years after the war, on May 3rd 1947, a new constitution was proclaimed, which meant the start of a genuine constitutional party democracy. But with the merger of the Liberal and Democratic conservative parties in 1955, resulting in the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party), a virtual one-party state was the result. From 1948 to 1954 Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru had dominated Japanese politics, and it was his successor, Hatoyama Ichiro, who presided over this merger.
The challenges facing the government were huge. After the establishment if the MITI (the Ministry of International Trade and Industry) in 1949 it was decided to focus recovery on four industries: coal-mining, steel, ship-building and the chemical industry. The Korean war (sometimes referred to as ôthe gift from the godsö) helped economic recovery. In 1955 The US GNP (Gross National Product) was sixteen times that of Japan. Twenty years later, in 1974, it was only three times that of Japan, and Japan had become the second-largest economic power.
In the field of foreign politics Prime Minister Hatoyama restored political relations with the Soviet Union in October 1956 after lengthy negotiations. Along with those for the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty concluded under the Yoshida Cabinet in 1951, these negotiations and subsequent agreements with the Soviet Union can be regarded as one of the two most significant diplomatic events in Japan's postwar history.

Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru giving a speech on -Reconciliation and Peace- at the San Francisco Peace conference in 1951.
Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru giving a speech on "Reconciliation
and Peace" at the San Francisco Peace conference in 1951.

In the same year, in December 1956, Japan was accepted into the United Nations. In 1960 Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato, a former minister of MITI, proclaimed the ôIncome Doubling Planö, set to more than double Japan's gross national product in the course of the next decade and bring Japanese standards of living up to levels comparable to those found in many advanced Western countries. In fact these goals were achieved in only four years and the "Golden Sixties" (Ogon no Rokuju Nendai) were the result. Japanĺs economic recovery can be compared with that of Germany after the war. The Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) also transformed Germany from a post-war wasteland into one of Europeĺs leading industrial nations in more or less the same timespan.

Artistic developments

Shimozawa Kihachir˘, Lava slope of Mt. Asama The excellent book Japanese prints during the allied occupation 1945-1952 relates how William Hartnett, mentioned in the previous essay (1940-1950), befriended Dr Fujikake Shizuya (1881-1958), a famous art-historian and scholar of Ukiyo-e prints, who, incidentally, had also been present at several meetings of the Ichimokukai, the First Thursday Society, and persuaded him ôto take up the cause of Onchi and his followersö. When Dr Fujikake subsequently rewrote his pre-war book Japanese Wood-block Prints for the Japan Travel Bureau in 1949 he devoted a substantial part of that book to S˘saku Hanga artists. When I looked through my copy of this book I was impressed by the very good picture selection Dr Fujikake had made. Oliver Statler, also briefly mentioned in my previous essay had an even bigger impact. In his introduction to Olver Statlerĺs Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn, published in 1956, James Michener writes: ôMr Statler has personally collected what is probably the worldĺs finest collection of modern Japanese creative prints. He has personally arranged for the sale of hundreds of other prints to museums throughout the United States. He has taken dozens of American tourists to the workshops of Tokyo woodblock artists and has acted as intermediary in literally hundreds of sales. He has mailed Japanese prints on approval to many private citizens in the United States. And he has performed all these services without accepting a penny or a yen of commission. He is the best friend a group of living artists ever had.ö
Asano Takeji, Mt. Aso Then, as a bolt from the blue, Kiyoshi Saito won a first prize at the SŃo Paulo Biennale in 1951 with the print ôSteady Gazeö. This prize coincided with Oliver Statlerĺs work to promote S˘saku Hanga, and with the lifting of travel restrictions for Japanese artists as a result of the San Francisco Peace treaty of that year. Soon more S˘saku Hanga prints were sold outside Japan than in Japan itself. It became possible for many artists to live from the proceeds of their work, and to create work more in keeping with their artistic inclination. For instance, after the war Onchi K˘shir˘ completely turned to abstract art ľ during the war abstract art had been banned. 1957 saw the first Tokyo Print Biennale, the first large print exhibition in Japan that showed work by both Japanese and foreign artists. By this time Tokyo was also ready to receive visitors from abroad.
The fifties saw two new developments: Japanese print artists started travelling to the West, where they exhibited their work; they also became teachers or even settled there, like Hiratsuka Unĺichi, who started to live in Washington D.C. in 1962. In the 1950s woodblock print artists increasingly made use of sheets of plywood, which resulted in larger prints, and the prints that were made were often made in larger editions to meet the demand of the growing number of collectors. These collectors also became interested in the prints made before WWII. Simultaneous with the rise of S˘saku Hanga, Shin Hanga was slowly losing its importance: Yoshida Hiroshi died in 1950, Kawase Hasui in 1957, and their best work had definitely not been made after the war. There were no successors of any importance, and the pre-war brilliance of Shin Hanga was gone forever.
Ono Tadashige, Niwatori
Ono Tadashige, Niwatori.

The above print is a good example of Ono Tadashige's later work, which was to flourish in the 1960s.

Prints made in this decade:


1
Maeda, Masao

2
Katsuhira, Tokushi

3
Maekawa, Senpan

4
Various

5
Azechi, Umetar˘

6
Tokuriki, Tomikichir˘

7
Kume, K˘ichi

8
Kawakami, Sumio

9
Shimozawa, Kihachir˘

10
Asano, Takeji

11
Katase, Kazuhiro

12
Maeda, T˘shir˘

13
Yamaguchi, Gen

14
Takahashi, Shin'ichi

15
Dantsuka, Gyor˘

16
Izumida Koji

17
Yasui, S˘tar˘

18
Miyamoto, Kiy˘shir˘

19
Ono, Tadashige

  Artists active in this decade,
who can be found on this website:

Asada, Benji
Asano, Takeji
Azechi, Umetar˘
Asano, Takeji
Hagiwara, Hideo
Hashimoto, Okiie
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi
Inagaki, Tomoo
Kasamatsu, Shir˘
Katsuhira, Tokushi
Kawakami, Sumio
Kawanishi, Hide
Kitaoka, Fumio
Konishi, Seiichir˘
Maeda, Masao
Maeda, Morikazu
Maeda, T˘shir˘
Maekawa, Senpan
Miyao, Shigeo
Miyata, Sabur˘
Mori, Yoshitoshi
Munakata, Shik˘
Nagase, Yoshi(r)o
Nakagawa, Isaku
Nakayama, Tadashi
ďkubo, Yutaka
Onchi, K˘shir˘
Ono, Tadashige
Sait˘, Kiyoshi
Sasajima, Kihei
Sekino, Jun'ichir˘
Shimozawa, Kihachir˘
Tagawa, Ken
Takeda, Shintar˘
Kamei, T˘bei
Tokuriki, Tomikichir˘
Wada, Sanz˘
Wakayama, Yasoji
Watanabe, Sadao
Yamaguchi, Gen
Yamaguchi, Susumu
Kat˘, Yasu
Shinagawa, Takumi
Miyamoto, Kiy˘shir˘
Kuriyama, Shigeru
Ito, Takayoshi
Kawanishi Yűzabur˘
Takahashi, Shin'ichi
 
Prints by artist
Akiyama, Iwao  
Asada, Benji  
Asaga, Manjir˘  
Asahi, Masahide  
Asano, Takeji  
Asano, Yuichi  
Azechi, Umetar˘  
Binnie, Paul  
Dantsuka, Gyor˘   
Ebata, Yoshiichi  
Enami, Shir˘  
Fujiki, Kikumaro  
Fujimori, Shizuo  
Fukami, Gashu  
Fukazawa, Sakuichi  
Funasaka, Yoshisuke  
Funazaki, Kojir˘  
Hashimoto, Okiie  
Hayashi, Waichi  
Hiratsuka, Un'ichi  
Homma, Rie  
Homma, Yoichir˘  
Id˘, Masao  
Inagaki, Tomoo  
Inatsugi, Junz˘  
Ishii, Ry˘suke  
It˘, Kennosuke  
Ito, Takayoshi  
Iwasaki, Miwako  
Izumida Koji  
Johnson, Lois  
Kadowaki, Shun'ichi  
Kamei, T˘bei  
Katase, Kazuhiro  
Kat˘, Tetsunosuke  
Kat˘, Yasu  
Katsuhira, Tokushi  
Kawada, Kan  
Kawakami, Sumio  
Kawanishi, Hide  
Kawano, Sachi  
Kawasaki, Kyosen  
Kawashima, Tatsuo  
Kikuchi, Zenjir˘  
Kitaoka, Fumio  
Kitazawa, Shűji  
Kobayashi, Haruki 小林春規  
Kodama, Takamura  
Koga, Misao  
Koga, Nobuyoshi  
Koizumi, Kishio  
Konishi, Seiichir˘  
Kristensen, Tom  
Kume, K˘ichi  
Kuriyama, Shigeru  
Lyon, Mike  
Maeda, Masao  
Maeda, Morikazu  
Maeda, T˘shir˘  
Maekawa, Senpan  
Makino, Munenori  
Matsubara, Naoko  
Minami, Kunz˘   
Miyao, Shigeo  
Miyata, Sabur˘  
Mori, D˘shun  
Morita, Tsunetomo  
Moritani, Rikio  
Murayama, Kank˘  
Mut˘, Rokur˘  
Nakagawa, Isaku  
Nakanishi, Toshika  
Nakano, Yoichi  
Nakata, Kazuo  
Nakayama, Tadashi  
Nara, Enami  
Nemoto, Kagai  
Nishida, Tadashige  
Nitta, J˘  
Nunomura, Shin'ichi  
Oda, Kazuma  
Ogawa, Tatsuhiko  
Ohtsu, Kazuyuki  
Okamoto, Ryusei  
ďkubo, Yutaka  
ďmoto, Yasushi  
Onchi, K˘shir˘  
Ono, Tadashige  
Ry˘ji, Ch˘mei  
Sait˘, Kimiko  
Sait˘, Kiyoshi  
Sakamoto, Isamu  
Sasajima, Kihei  
Sat˘, Ch˘zan 佐藤 朝山  
Sekino, Jun'ichir˘  
Sewai, Koichi  
Shiba, Hideo  
Shima, Tamami  
Shimizu, K˘ichi  
Shimizu, Masahiro  
Shimozawa, Kihachir˘  
Shinagawa, Takumi  
Sone, Kiyoharu  
Suzuki, Atsuko  
Tagawa, Ken  
Takada, Kazuo  
Takagi, Shir˘  
Takahashi, Shin'ichi  
Takeda, Gentar˘  
Takeda, Shintar˘  
Tanaka, Kuniz˘   
Taninaka, Yasunori  
Tokuriki, Tomikichir˘  
Tsukamoto, Shigeru  
Tsukamoto, Tetsu  
Tsuruta, Gor˘  
Udawawa, Tamio  
Ueda, Gagyű (上田, 臥牛)  
Ueda, Yoshifumi  
Ueno, Makoto  
Unidentified  
Various  
Wakayama, Yasoji  
Watanabe, Yoichi   
Watanabe, Yuji  
Yamada, Akiyo  
Yamaguchi, Gen  
Yamaguchi, Susumu  
Yamataka, Noboru  
Yasui, S˘tar˘  
Yorozu, Tetsugor˘  
Yoshida, T˘shi  

v3