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Okuyama, Gihachiro (1907 - 1981)

Hakuba Village, Hosono Hamlet

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: c. 1950s
Size (H x W): 9.5 x 19 (inches)
Seals: Gihachi
Signature: Gihachiro Okuyama, Okuyama Gihachiro Jizuri
Condition: Very good impression, light wear and very faint mat mark on margin, small tape on reverse.

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About the artist

Born in Yamagata prefecture, Gihachiro Okuyama was an active woodblock print artist of both the Sosaku Hanga, or “creative print,” and the Shin Hanga, or “new print,” movement. Okuyama began his formal artistic study with Gajin Kosaka in 1923, as well as with Kendo Ishii, and began regularly exhibiting prints with Japan Creative Print Association in 1927. Between 1928 and 1931, Okuyama produced around 40 poster designs for the watercolor printer Hidekichi Uchida, as well as woodblock-printed commercial advertisements for companies such as the Japan Wool Company and Nikka Whiskey. Okuyama founded the Tokyo Advertisement Art Association (Tokyo Kokoku Bijutsu Kyokai) in 1931 and contributed prints to the series One Hundred Views of Great Tokyo (Dai Tokyo Hyakkei) the following year. In 1942, Gihachiro Okuyama joined Umetaro Azechi and Uichi Takayama in the founding of the Shin Hanga Kyokai.


During the war, Okuyama participated in Nihon Hanga Hokokai, an organization where Sosaku Hanga and Shin Hanga artists worked together to obtain printing materials during wartime. He began his own publishing firm, the Japan Print Institute (Nihon Hanga Kenkyusho), following the war. The firm published reproductions of famous ukiyo-e woodblock prints, but folded in 1948. Unfazed, Okuyama founded a print workshop in Matsudo in 1954, printing his own landscapes in addition to facsimiles of famous Eastern and Western artworks. Gijin, Okuyama’s son and woodblock print artist in his own right, carved the blocks and took over the workshop in 1973.