Tokuriki Tomikichiro
1902-1992
Reviving the Kyoto woodblock tradition


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Tokuriki came from a long line of painters for Hongan-ji Temple in Kyoto which formed a background for his woodblock work.  He trained in Japanese painting in the two-year preparatory and four-year art courses of the Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts, and then the three-year course at the Kyoto Art College, from which he graduated in 1923. While at the Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts he began to make woodblocks in the Sosaku, or creative school, style.  After the great earthquake of 1923 which destroyed much of Tokyo, many woodblock artists whose lives were shaken by this disaster relocated in Kyoto, which along with the even more ancient capital of Nara, was where this art form began in Japan.  This influx of artists enlivened the art world of Kyoto, and especially that of woodblock print makers.  To his fine-art training Tokuriki added that of the woodblock artisan, and was known for cutting some of his own blocks.  More important, however, was his encouragement of the skills of professional woodblock carvers, who are essential to the production of fine prints.

Tokuriki worked in two traditions, of the artisan producing beautiful and immediately popular images of familiar scenes -- which is the essence of the landscape woodblock in Japan -- and of the Sosaku or Creative School.  His reputation as a print artist in Japan rests largely on  the former, in particular several popular series of landscapes and famous views, which have brush stroke-like aspects showing the tradition of Japanese painting, both in color and in black ink, on which they are based, and which give Tokuriki's work its distinctive flavor.  He was associated with many other well-known woodblock artists of his generation, and was a much admired and respected figure in the Japanese woodblock world, for his own work and for his encouragement of others.
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