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Kitazawa Yasuji (Rakuten) (1876-1955) and Itô Tôzan III (1901-70)
Ebi ni kawasemi - Kingfisher and shrimps
Signed: Rakuten saku
Seals: Tôzan
Technique: Fine crackled Awatayaki with underglaze paintings of a kingfisher on the outside and shrimps on the inside. Ø19.6 x 7.7
Box: signed by Tôzan
Condition: fine

Kitazawa Yasuji was better known by his pen name Kitazawa Rakuten. Rakuten was a mangaka and nihonga artist. During the late Meiji period and early Showa period he drew many cartoons and comics. Historians refer to him as the inventor of modern manga because his work inspired younger generations of mangaka and animators.

Rakuten was born in 1876 in the Kita Adachi district of Omiya in Saitama near Tokyo. He studied Western painting with Ono Yukihiko and Nihonga with Inoue Shunzui adn graduated from Taikôkan Art Institute.. From 1895, he drew for the English language magazine Box of Curios. His mentor was Frank Arthur Nankivell, an Australian artist who later moved to America to work for the Puck Magazine.

From 1899 Rakuten worked at Jiji Shimpo, a daily newspaper owned by Yukichi Fukuzawa. Starting in January 1902, he collaborated on Jiji Manga, a comic page that appeared in the Sunday edition of the newspaper. His comics for this newspaper were inspired by American work such as Katzenjammer Kids, Yellow Kid and Frederick Burr Opper.

In 1905, Rakuten founded a colourful satirical magazine entitled Tokyo Puck. It was translated into English and Chinese and sold outside Japan in Korea, China and Taiwan. He worked at this magazine until 1915. He then returned to Jiji Shimpo, where he remained until his retirement in 1932.

From 1927 to 1929 Rakuten stayed in London and France where he studied European cartoons. At the end of his stay he held private exhibitions in London and Paris at the suggestion of the French ambassador. He was appointed to the Legion of Honour for this. During World War II, he was the chairman of the Japan cartoon society, the Nihon Manga Hoko Kai, a government comic strip group that supported Japan during the war.

Rakuten was the first professional cartoonist in Japan and the first to use the word "manga" in its modern sense.

Roberts p. 81

Tôzan Iwas a leading figure in Kyoto pottery. He studied Maruyama-style painting with Koizumi Tôgaku. His wife was a potter and taught him pottery. He became an independent potter in 1863 and started his own kiln in 1867. In Uji he revived Asahi-yaki.

Roberts p. 59

Price: EUR 1,200 / USD 1,440