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Archive: Tokuriki, Tomikichirô (徳力富吉郞)

Title: Kamo[gawa] Kawara from the series Shin Heike monogatari
Tomi (富) signed in the block at top right of image, and Tomikichirô saku (Work by Tomikichirô: 富吉郞作) brushed in the lower right margin
Self-published, from the first edition of 100 (Shôhan hyaku no uchi: 初版百ノ内) brushed in the lower right margin
c. 1940s
(H x W)
Large ôban
27.2 x 40.0 cm
Excellent color and condition
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry (Ref #TKR01)


Tokuriki Tomikichirô was born in Kyoto. He graduated from the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts and the Kyoto City Specialist School of Painting in 1924. He also studied nihonga (Japanese-style painting: 日本画) at the private school of Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936) and with Yamamoto Shunkyo (1871-1933). From 1929 Tokuriki focused on mokuhanga (block prints: 木版画), and he also actively promoted sôsaku hanga ("creative prints": 創作版画) in Kyoto. He published many sets and series before World War II, and afterwards established the Matsukyû Publishing Co. to produce and distribute his prints and through its subdivision, Kôrokusha, to publish self-carved and self-printed hanga as well as works by other artists such as Kotozuka Eiichi (1906-1979), Takahashi Tasaburô (1904-1977), and Kamei Tôbei (1901-1977). For much of his long life Tokuriki taught many artisans and artists, some of them non-Japanese, and he traveled extensively, thus his influence was significant in the world of hanga. He is perhaps best known to Westerners through his many print designs in the shin hanga ("new prints": 新版画) manner for various series published by the three main Kyoto firms — Uchida, Unsôdô, and Kyoto Hanga-in — but his self-carved, self-printed sôsaku hanga are more highly considered by collectors and curators. The artist recognized this dichotomy, saying, "I'd rather do nothing but creative prints, but after all, I sell maybe ten of them against two hundred for a publisher-artisan print."


The title can be read as Kamo[gawa] Kawara. It might also be rendered as Kamogawa Kyo[to] (Kamo River in Kyoto: 加茂河原). In the past, when written as 鴨川 the first ideogram means "wild duck" and is read kamo, while the second means "river" and is read gawa. Today, the river north of where it joins with the Takano River is usually written as 加茂川 or 加茂河 and the river south of that point is given as 鴨川.

There were 8 designs published for this sôsaku hanga series, which is titled Shin Heike monogatari (A New Tale of the Heike: 新平家物語).

In our opinion, this is one of Tokuriki's finer meisho (famous place) views of Kyoto from among his more sought-after, self-published, limited-edition series. Seemingly a straightforward charming view, there are graphic elements that raise this composition beyond the merely decorative. The most obvious is the single vanishing-point perspective of the landscape visible below and beyond the bridge, seen by the viewer from a low vantage point. The slanting rain is counterbalanced by the opposing diagonal of the imposing bridge. Mostly a scene rendered in grays and blues, the strong brown of the bridge and the bright colors of the pedestrians establish an effective chromatic contrast. Overall, what might have been a simple and somewhat melancholy scene is brought to life by these various compositional devices.