Hiroshi Yoshida

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Yoshida Hiroshi

Hiroshi Yoshida (吉田 博, Yoshida Hiroshi, September 19, 1876 – April 5, 1950) was a 20th-century Japanese painter and woodblock printmaker. He is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style, and is noted especially for his landscape prints. Yoshida travelled widely, and was particularly known for his images of non-Japanese subjects done in traditional Japanese woodblock style, including the Taj Mahal, the Swiss Alps, the Grand Canyon, and other National Parks in the United States.


Kumoi Cherry Trees (1920)

Hiroshi Yoshida (born Hiroshi Ueda) was born in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka, in Kyushu, on September 19, 1876.[1] He showed an early aptitude for art fostered by his adoptive father, a teacher of painting in the public schools. At the age of 19, he was sent to Kyoto to study under Tamura Shoryu, a well known teacher of western style painting. He then studied under Koyama Shōtarō, in Tokyo, for another three years.

He made numerous trips around the planet, with the aim of getting to know different artistic expressions and making works of different landscapes. One of his most important trips was the one made to India.[2]

In 1899, Yoshida had his first American exhibition at Detroit Museum of Art (now Detroit Institute of Art). He then traveled to Boston, Washington, D.C., Providence and Europe. In 1920, Yoshida presented his first woodcut at the Watanabe Print Workshop, organized by Shōzaburō Watanabe (1885–1962), publisher and advocate of the shin-hanga movement. However, Yoshida's collaboration with Watanabe was short partly due to Watanabe's shop burning down because of the Great Kanto earthquake on September 1, 1923.

In 1925, he hired a group of professional carvers and printers, and established his own studio. Prints were made under his close supervision. Yoshida combined the ukiyo-e collaborative system with the sōsaku-hanga principle of "artist's prints", and formed a third school, separating himself from the shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga movement. His art is used all around the world, wanting to inspire young artists to follow their hearts and to teach them that they should do what they'd like, even if nobody else in the room agrees.[clarification needed] Hiroshi's art is used with clear credit to his name, and a small summary about his life.[clarification needed]

At the age of 73, Yoshida took his last sketching trip to Izu and Nagaoka and painted his last works The Sea of Western Izu and The Mountains of Izu. He became sick on the trip and returned to Tokyo where he died on April 5, 1950, at his home.[3] His tomb is in the grounds of the Ryuun-in, in Koishikawa, Tokyo.[4]

Artistic style[edit]

Sailing Boats, 1921

Hiroshi Yoshida was trained in the Western oil painting tradition, which was adopted in Japan during the Meiji period. Yoshida often used the same blocks and varied the colour to suggest different moods. The best example of such is Sailing Boats in 1921.

Yoshida's extensive travel and acquaintance with Americans influenced his art considerably. In 1931 a series of prints depicting scenes from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Singapore was published. Six of these were views of the Taj Mahal in different moods and colors.

The style that defines Hiroshi Yoshida art-work is know as ukiyo-e. This style emerged in Japan around the 15th century, which consists of the application of paint on a block of wood. The usual theme represented in this painting were Kabuki theatre, natural landscapes, socialites or everyday scenes. For many years the ukiyo-e style was the truest representation of what art meant in Japan.[5]

His works are held in several museums worldwide, including the British Museum,[6] the Toledo Museum of Art,[7] the Brooklyn Museum,[8] the Harvard Art Museums,[9] the Saint Louis Art Museum,[10] the Dallas Museum of Art,[11] the University of Michigan Museum of Art,[12] the Clark Art Institute,[13] the Portland Art Museum,[14] the Indianapolis Museum of Art,[15] the Carnegie Museum of Art,[16] the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum,[17] the Detroit Institute of Arts,[18] the Seattle Art Museum,[19] the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,[20] the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco,[21] the Davis Museum at Wellesley College,[22] and the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.[23]

The Yoshida family legacy[edit]

The artistic lineage of the Yoshida family of eight artists: Kasaburo Yoshida (1861–1894), whose wife Rui Yoshida was an artist; their daughter Fujio Yoshida (1887–1987); Hiroshi Yoshida (1876–1950), their adopted son, who married Fujio; Tōshi Yoshida (1911–1995), Hiroshi's son, whose wife Kiso Yoshida (1919–2005) was an artist; Hodaka Yoshida (1926–1995), another of Hiroshi's sons, whose wife Chizuko Yoshida (1924–2017) and daughter Ayomi Yoshida (b. 1958) are artists. This group, four men and four women spanning four generations, provides a perspective on Japanese history and art development in the turbulent 20th century. Although they inherited the same tradition, the Yoshida family artists have worked in different styles with different sensibilities. Toshi Yoshida and the Yoshida family have used Hiroshi's original woodblocks to create later versions, including posthumous, of his prints. Prints created under Hiroshi Yoshida's management with special care have a jizuri (自摺, self-printed) seal kanji stamp, which indicates that he played an active role in the printing process of the respective print.[24] Hiroshi Yoshida's signatures vary depending on the agents and time of creation. Prints originally sold on the Japanese market do not carry a pencil signature or a title in English.


Japanese Woodblock Printing, comprehensive guide to the craft of woodblock printing written by Hiroshi Yoshida was published by The Sanseido Company, Ltd. in Tokyo and Osaka in 1939.



  1. ^ Blakeney, Ben Bruce. "Yoshida Hiroshi: Print-maker: Part One". Encyclopedia of Woodblock Printmaking.
  2. ^ Davidson, J. LeRoy (1951). "Archives of the Chinese Art Society of America, IV, 1950". Artibus Asiae. 14 (1/2): 197. doi:10.2307/3248698. ISSN 0004-3648.
  3. ^ "Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950) - The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints". Retrieved 13 May 2020. At the age of 73, Yoshida took his last sketching trip to Izu and Nagaoka and painted his last works The Sea of Western Izu and The Mountains of Izu. He became sick on the trip and returned to Tokyo where he died April 5, 1950 at his home.
  4. ^ Blakeney, Ben Bruce. "Yoshida Hiroshi: Print-maker: Part One". Encyclopedia of Woodblock Printmaking. Retrieved 14 May 2020. His tomb is in the grounds of the Ryuun-in, in Koishikawa, Tokyo
  5. ^ "The Changing Faces of Japanese Woodblock Prints", Strong Women, Beautiful Men, Brill | Hotei, pp. 11–26, 2005-01-01, retrieved 2023-12-01
  6. ^ "print | British Museum". The British Museum. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  7. ^ "Mt. Fuji, Evening". emuseum.toledomuseum.org. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  8. ^ "Brooklyn Museum". www.brooklynmuseum.org. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  9. ^ "From the Harvard Art Museums' collections Yamanaka Lake (Yamanaka-ko)". Harvard Art Museums. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  10. ^ "Ancient Ruins of Athens (Acropolis — Day)". Saint Louis Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  11. ^ "Peaceful Rishiri - DMA Collection Online". www.dma.org. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  12. ^ "Exchange: An Evening in a Hot Spring". exchange.umma.umich.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  13. ^ "Itoigawa Morning". www.clarkart.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  14. ^ "Kyōto no yoru (Night in Kyoto)". portlandartmuseum.us. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  15. ^ "Misty Day in Nikko". Indianapolis Museum of Art Online Collection. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  16. ^ "Hiroshi Yoshida Prints - Carnegie Museum of Art - Custom Prints and Framing - prints.cmoa.org". prints.cmoa.org. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  17. ^ "Kagurazaka Street After a Night Rain | Yoshida Hiroshi | Profile of Works". TOKYO FUJI ART MUSEUM. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  18. ^ "Memories of Japan". www.dia.org. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  19. ^ "Yoshida Village". art.seattleartmuseum.org. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  20. ^ "Yoshida Village (Yoshida mura), from the series Ten Views of Mount Fuji (Fuji jukkei)". collections.mfa.org. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  21. ^ "Evening in a Hot Spring - Hiroshi Yoshida". FAMSF Search the Collections. 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  22. ^ "Japanese Prints". Wellesley College. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  23. ^ "Collections Database". museums.fivecolleges.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  24. ^ Koller, Chris. "Hiroshi Yoshida and the Jizuri seal". Retrieved 13 May 2020. Jizuri means self-printed and indicates that Hiroshi Yoshida played an active role in the printing process of the respective print.

General references[edit]

  • Allen, Laura W. (2002). A Japanese Legacy: Four Generations of Yoshida Family Artists. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts. ISBN 978-0912964874.
  • Fiorillo, John. "Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950)". Viewing Japanese Prints. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007.
  • Skibbe, Eugene M. (January 1993). "The American Travels of Yoshida Hiroshi". Andon. Vol. 43. pp. 59–74.
  • The Complete Woodblock Prints of Yoshida Hiroshi. Tokyo: Abe Publishing Co. 1987.
  • Yoshida, Toshi; Rei, Yuki (1966). Japanese Printmaking, A Handbook of Traditional & Modern Techniques. Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle Co. Inc.
  • Blakeney, Ben B. (1953). Yoshida Hiroshi Print-maker. Tokyo, Japan: Foreign Affairs Association of Japan.
  • Yoshida, Hiroshi (1939). Japanese Wood-Block Printing. Tokyo & Osaka: Sanseido Co., Ltd.

External links[edit]