Yoshio Markino

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Yoshio Markino (牧野 義雄 Makino Yoshio?, December 25, 1869 – October 18, 1956) was a Japanese artist and author who spent much of his life in London. He was born at the town of Toyota in Japan, at birth being named Heiji Makino.

He was curious about and attracted to Western culture. When he was 24 (1893) he took ship at Yokohama, on his way to San Francisco. He enrolled at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art (now the San Francisco Art Institute) and stayed in the city for the next four years.

In 1897 he went to London via New York, and decided to stay at the British capital where he spent most of his subsequent life and career (1897–1942). He was well received among British writers and artists, and his illustrations of the city published in 1907 in The Colour of London got critical acclaim. This was followed by in 1908 by The Colour of Paris and The Colour of Rome, and in 1912 by The Charm of London.

Markino's literary talents were also recognized, and with the support of friends like Douglas Sladen he published several autobiographical works, including A Japanese Artist in London (1910), When I was a Child (1912), and My Recollections and Reflections (1913). Markino's quirky English style was appreciated by readers who enjoyed his unique humor, but was not infrequently lamented by critics, especially as the popularity of his works grew.

Among his friends and acquaintances were the writers Yone Noguchi, Arthur Ransome, M. P. Shiel, and the artist Pamela Colman Smith. Although unnamed, he plays an important role in Ransome's Bohemia in London, and is considered to have been the model for the male protagonist in Shiel's book The Yellow Wave (1905) — a Romeo and Juliet-type tragic romance on the background of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.

Between October 18, 1923 and March 9, 1927, he conducted an artistically fruitful visit to the United States. His watercolour "The Plaza Hotel, New York City" dates from that visit (1924) (see external link).

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