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Munakata Shiko

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Munakata Shiko
Japanese Modern/Contemporary Printmaker
Japanese, (1903–1975)
Munakata was born in Aomori prefecture in 1903. He began to study oil painting on his own, and in 1920 he organized Seikokai (Blue Light Group) to hold exhibitions twice a year. Shiko went to Tokyo for the first time in 1924, and was inspired to make moku-hanga by seeing a Kawakami Sumio print in 1926. He studied briefly with Hiratsuka Un'ichi in 1928. Shiko exhibited prints with Kokugakai from 1930, and was a member from 1932 to 1953. He was also a member of Nihon Hanga Kyokai from 1932 to 1938, and exhibited paintings at Hakujitsukai, Bunten, and Teiten. He met Yanagi Soetsu in 1935, and from that time on was strongly supported by Yanagi, Kawai Kanjiro, and Hamada Shoji of the folk art movement. From 1937 his work dealt frequently with Buddhist subjects.

At the peak of the Tokyo bombing (1945) Shiko evacuated to Toyama prefecture, where he founded the hanga artist society Nihon Hanga-in (Banga-in) in 1952. Shiko's spontaneously carved black and white prints became well known and widely honored. In 1959-1960 he visited the United States and held solo exhibitions in various cities. In 1961 he was granted the rank of Hokkyo by Horinji Temple in Kyoto, and in 1962 he was given the rank of Hogen by Nisseki Temple in Toyama prefecture. Shinko received the Medal of Honor in 1963, the Asahi shinbun culture prize in 1965, and the Order of Cultural Merit in 1970.

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