Hiroaki Takahashi was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1871. As a young artist he assumed the artistic name Shotei. As with many Japanese woodblock artists over his lifetime he signed his work with various names and worked for several publishing companies. After studying art, Shotei and Terazaki Kogyo founded the Japan Youth Painting Society in 1889. In 1907, as a successful artist, he was recruited by Shōzaburō Watanabe to contribute to the Shin Hanga ("New Prints") art movement in Japan. Watanabe helped to fulfill the Western demand for Ukiyoe woodblock prints which would be similar to familiar historical masters of that genre, including Hiroshige. In about 1921 Shotei added the artistic name of Hiroaki. In 1923 the Great Kanto earthquake (and subsequent fire) destroyed Watanabe's facilities; this included all Shin Hanga woodblocks. Thus, Shotei recreated prior designs destroyed in the Great Kanto earthquake and also continued to produce new woodblocks. He is believed to have died in 1945. Since Watanabe produced artwork for Western collectors there are numerous copies of Shotei woodblocks in Western museums including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.