Jun’ichiro Sekino was born in Aomori prefecture. He began making wood print art while still in middle school before formally pursuing etching with Junzo Kon. Active in the print scene, Sekino participated in the art shows Chokojuto (1932) and Shin Hanga (1935), exhibiting with the Nihon Hanga Kyokai from 1932 forward. After winning the Teiten prize for etching in 1936, he moved to Tokyo in 1939. Jun’ichiro Sekino continued his studies at the Etching Institute of Takeo Nishida, where he also trained in oil painting and drawing. Sekino commenced his study of woodblock prints with Koshiro Onchi and soon joined the Nihon Hanga Kyokai in 1938, followed by the Kokugakai in 1940. He exhibited worldwide, winning particular acclaim in the United States for his woodblock prints following World World II. In 1958, the Japan-America Society brought Sekino to the United States, where he taught at Oregon State University in 1963. Upon returning to Japan, he assumed a position at Kobe University in 1965 and received the medal of the Imperial Household Agency in 1981.
Sekino’s work is greatly inspired by old Japanese and European masters alike, whether Sharaku or Albrecht Durer. The subject of his work varies, though he commonly focused on portraits, landscapes, and semi-abstract designs. Sekino is one of the most influential Japanese woodblock print artists of the 20th century.
An artist should use freely whatever materials he pleases. In the case of the woodblock print, he simply goes one step further and employs a block instead of a brush... - Watanabe Shozaburo, 1916