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A founding member of the Sosaku Hanga movement, Kogan Tobari (né Kamekichi) worked as a sculptor, printmaker and illustrator. Born in the Nihonbashi section of Tokyo, he worked at a bank during the day and attended night school studying English. As the 19th century came to a close, Kogan’s English teacher encouraged him to visit the United States. In 1901, he moved to New York, working and studying painting at the Art Student’s League. Upon being diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1906, he returned to Japan. Around 1910, the sculptor Morie Ogiwara inspired Kogan to study sculpture at the Saiko Nihon Bijutsuin, where Kogan soon became a member.
Kogan supported himself as a novel illustrator. In 1912, he completed his first woodblock print, Farmhouse in Autumn. In 1914, he produced several prints carved in a traditional technique by either Kogan himself or Kishio Koizumi. Kogan founded several associations during his lifetime, including the Japan Watercolor Society (1913) with Hakutei Ishii, and Nihon Sosaku Hanga Kyokai (1918) with other sosaku hanga leaders. He exhibited work at both the first sosaku hanga exhibition in 1919, and posthumously at the 1933 Nihon Hanga Kyokai exhibition. In 1922, he published Sosaku-Hanga and How to Make Them. Later in life, Kogan became known for his French-inspired small bronze figures.
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