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Kotondo Torii was born in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo as Akira Saito. He was the only son of Kiyotada, the seventh Torii master and head of the school from 1929 until 1951. Kotondo began his career in 1914 in yamato-e (Japanese court painting) under Tomone Kobori, followed by Kiyokata in 1918. Early in his career, Kotondo produced posters and other kabuki focused illustrations for Entertainment Illustrated Magazine. He completed the majority of his woodblock prints between 1927 and 1933, working with several publishers including Kawaguchi (1920s) and Ikeda (1930s). After his father’s death in 1941, Kotondo assumed the name Torii VIII (Kiyotada V). From 1966 to 1972, he lectured at Nihon University.
Unlike his kabuki-focused Torii predecessors, Kotondo was drawn to the beautiful women of Japan. In both his paintings and his woodblock prints, he portrays these beauties with a delicacy and intimacy unique to his style. He made a total of 21 bijin (beautiful women) prints during his career which are highly sought after and internationally collected.
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