Kawase Hasui (1883 - 1957)
Kawase Hasui, also known as the "Traveling Poet," was a famous printmaker who left numerous landscape paintings. His works expressing the beauty of nature were highly acclaimed from the Taisho to Showa periods.
Born in 1883 in Shiba Ward, Tokyo, Hasui took over his father's family business at 25. However, his love of painting inspired him to become a painter. He sought the guidance of Japanese-style painter Kaburaki Kiyokata, but he had difficulties, partly because he started late, in his mid-20s. Kiyokata turned Hasui toward Western-style painting, where he studied under Okada Sabrosuke.
However, he did not seem to fit in with the world of Western-style painting, and in 1910 (Meiji 43), at the age of 27, he asked Kiyokata, who had once refused to accept him as a student, to allow him to reapply for admission.
It was traveling that defined Hasui's painting style. In 1923, his house was completely destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake, and his sketchbooks were burned to ashes. In the face of such adversity,
his publisher, Watanabe Shozaburo, pushed Hasui back and sent him on his travels again.
It was a 102-day sketching trip from Tokyo to the Hokuriku, Chugoku, and Kinki regions, the longest in Hasui's life.
Hasui's distinctive style and reverence for nature made him unique among his contemporaries. His woodblock-printed landscapes were highly sought after and appreciated not only in Japan but throughout the world. His legacy continues to inspire a new generation of painters today.