Ishii Tsuruzô (石井鶴三 1887-1973) was a painter, sculptor, and printmaker who studied painting with Koyama Shôtarô (1857-1916) at Fudôsha and sculpture with Katô Keiun at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, where he graduated in 1910 and later served as a professor of sculpture. He exhibited at the first Nihon Sôsaku Hanga Kyôkai (Japanese Creative Print Society, 日本創作版画協会) show in 1919 and became a member in 1921. He took an active role in the "creative print" movement (sôsaku hanga) throughout his career. Ishii's illustrations for a serialized tale of the sword master Miyamoto Musashi, published by the Asahi Shinbun newspaper during 1935-39, were very popular. He was also a member of the Imperial Art Academy and a founding member of the Nihon Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Print Association, 日本版画協会), serving as its president starting in 1944. The younger brother of the painter and printmaker Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958), Tsurzô was also closely involved with Kanae Yamamoto (1882-1946), the "inventor" of sôsaku hanga, whose seminal "knife picture" (tôga), an untitled work known as Gyofu (Fisherman: 漁夫) and published by Hakutei in the magazine Myôjô (Morning Star) in 1904, is widely considered the first example of a self-carved, self-printed work in the genre. (In 1960, Ishii Tsuruzô still had the original woodblock, carved on both sides, for Yamamoto's Fisherman and arranged for the printmaker Okiie Hashimoto, 1899-1983, to reprint a memorial edition of 40.)
Today, Tokyo Station (Tokyo-eki, 東京駅), Japan's busiest rail hub and gateway to the capital, is in the midst of celebrating its centenial. In 1903, the Japanese architect Kingo Tatsuno (1854-1919), who was known for designing the headquarters of Bank of Japan and had established himself as a pioneer of Japanese modern architecture, was commissioned to design the Central Station. He followed a plan submitted by German engineers Hermann Rumshottel and Franz Baltzer, but elaborated upon the design with his own distinctive style. After several changes and suspension of the project during the war with Russia (1904-05), the construction of the Central Station finally began in 1908. It began operations on December 20, 2014. Tokyo Station miraculously survived the Great Kantô Earthquake of 1923 and remained a landmark of the imperial city for 31 years until its roof was destroyed in air raids during World War II (May 1945); however, the station was reconstructed in 1947 as a two-story building. Recently, the facade was restored to its former design, more or less matching what you see in Ishii's print.
Ishii's evening view features the red-brick European-style facade of Tokyo Station, an enduring symbol of Japan's widespread modernization initiated during the Meiji period (1868-1912). Silhouettes of pedestrians, cars, and a bicyclist populate the scene as they approach the beckoning glow of the illuminated entranceway. Today this scene evokes a nostalgic historical record of the original building, a majestic example of Japan's surge into the modern era.