Koizumi Kisho

Japanese 1893 - 1945


Kishio Koizumi was born in Shizuoka in 1893 as the son of a former retainer of the Tokugawa family which had ruled Japan with an iron fist until the last Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned in 1867. As a young man he went to Tokyo to study painting and Japanese art at the Institute of the Japan Watercolor Society. One of his informal art teachers was Ishii Hakutei.


Kishio Koizumi took one of the very few employments by which a print artist could make a living in those days. He became a freelance illustrator for several magazines and newspapers.


One Hundred Pictures of Great Tokyo During Showa


In 1928, three years after the Great Kanto earthquake which had destroyed the old Tokyo nearly completely, Koizumi started a series One Hundred Pictures of Great Tokyo During the Showa Period - Showa dai Tokyo hyakuzue.


The artist finished the project 12 years later. Although the series was self-carved and self-printed, it is of a high technical standard and furthermore quite appealing. It shows landmarks of the greater Toyko area of the twenties and thirties. Many of the places and buildings depicted by Koizumi Kishio do not exist any more - destroyed in World War II or later by urban development projects in post-war Japan.


36 Views of Mount Fuji


Towards the end of his life, Koizumi Kishio had started another ambitious project, a series of images of Mount Fuji. The artist had planned thirty-six prints. But he could finish only twenty-three designs.


When the bombing attacks of Tokyo had become more and more intensive, Koizumi Kishio was evacuated from Tokyo, became ill and died in 1945. He may not have seen the destructions personally, but he was aware that many of the sites he had depicted in Showa dai Tokyo hyakuzue had ceased to exist.


In 1996 the Tokyo Edo Museum held an exhibition "Tokyo in Transition", showing Koizumi prints and other Tokyo series from the 1920s and 1930s. These prints have become an important document of urban development

Source: Artelino