Tokuriki Tomikichirô (1902-2000 徳力富吉郞) 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 (末詳) Publishing Company to produce and distribute his prints and through its subdivision, Kôrokusha (紅録社), 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. His self-carved, self-printed sôsaku hanga, such as the example we are offering here, are highly valued 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."
For more about this artist, see Tokuriki Tomikichirô Biography.
Hiunkaku (Flying Cloud Pavilion: 飛雲閣) is a National Treasure building located within the precincts of the Nishi Hongan-ji (Nishi Honga Temple: 西本願寺), a Jôdo Shinshû Buddhist temple located in Shimogyo Ward (下京区), Kyoto City. In 1994, Nishi Hongan-ji, with its complex of buildings, was designated a UNESCO "World Heritage Site" as one of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto." The grounds accommodate two outdoor Nô stages, one of which is thought to be the oldest in existence (designated a National Treasure) and the other being the largest such outdoor stage (designated an Important Cultural Asset).
Hiunkaku has been praised as one of the three notable pavilions in Kyoto, along with Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion: 金閣寺) and Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion: 銀閣寺). The Hiunkaku is a unique, three-storied timber building constructed as an asymmetrical but altogether harmonious design. It appears that it was built at about the same time as the garden, Tekisuien (滴翠園), between 1624-44. Situated in the southeast corner of the temple precinct, the building faces a pond called Sorô-Ike (Blue Wave Pond: 滄浪池). There are two access points, one by boat carrying visitors across the pond to anchor beneath the first story of the building, where steps lead up to the first floor. There is an undulating karahafu (gable roof: 唐破風) on one side, over the boat entrance, and the water can be seen from open shôji (translucent sliding screens: 障子). On the opposite, northwest side, there is a hip-and-gable arrangement called irimoya-zukuri (入母屋造). The other access point is provided over a long stone-slab bridge. The first story interior is in the Shoin-zukuri (Shoin style: 書院造), with the study facing the pond. The study, called the Shôkenden (Invitation to Wisdom Hall: 招賢殿), has two levels of floor space. The second story has a Kasen-no-ma (Room of Great Poets: 歌仙の間), named after Sanjûrokkasen (Thirty-six Immortal Poets : 三十六歌仙) painted on the wooden doors and walls. The third story has a pyramidal roof called hôgyô-zukuri (宝形造).
Tokuriki depicted the Hiunkaku face-on, with the undulating gabled roof over the boat entrance visible beyond the trees on the left. Seen from the other side of the pond, the building is picturesque in its "natural" (though carefully arranged) habitat. The famed asymmetry of the three stories is accurately observed. Tokuriki applied textured colors in a restrained, cool palette throughout the composition. Five black birds fly across the sky, adding movement to the tranquil view of this memorable national treasure.
Note: Tokuriki's self-published prints issued before the Pacific War are, today, rather difficult to find. We are quite pleased to be able to offer this design, plus another catalogued as TKR08.
Prints by Tokuriki are in the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Brooklyn Museum, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art;Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Five College Museums/Historic Deerfield Collections; Harvard Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago; University of Alberta Art Collection; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; and Yale University Art Gallery.
- Fujikake, Shizuya: Japanese Woodblock Prints. Tokyo: Tourist Library 10, Japan Travel Bureau, enlarged and rev. ed., 1949.
- Merritt, Helen: Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: The Early Years. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990, pp. 88-92.
- Smith, Lawrence: Modern Japanese Prints 1912-1989: Woodblocks and Stencils. London: British Museum Press, 1994, p. 36 and no. 50.
- Statler, Oliver: Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn. Rutland: Tuttle, 1956, pp. 118-122, 126, 199; nos. 72-73.
- Tokuriki, Tomikichirô: Woodblock Printing. (trans. Arimatsu Teruko) Osaka: Hoikusha Publishing Company, 1968
- Zehnder, Amanda (intro.): Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009, pp. 174-177.