Toshijiro, Inagaki

Inagaki Toshijiro (稲垣稔二郎, March 3, 1902 – June 10, 1963) was a born in Kyoto to Takejiro Inagaki, a painter. Inagaki specialized in Japanese katazome and applied the same techniques to woodblock prints as well.

Katazome (型染め) is a Japanese method of dyeing fabrics using a resist paste applied through a stencil, typically a rice flour mixture applied with a brush or a tool such as a palette knife. Pigment is added by hand-painting, immersion dyeing, or both. The area of the fabric covered and permeated by the paste mixture resists the later application of dye, thus creating undyed areas within the fabric.

Inagaki studied at the Kyoto City University of Arts, and graduated in 1922. After graduation, Inagaki worked at the Matsuzakaya department store, where he learned to dye cloth. He left the department store in 1931 to focus on his art and began to dye screen paintings using the yuzen method of dyeing. He won an award at the Kokugakai exhibition in 1940, but he entered the spotlight when one of his paintings was selected at the Nitten exhibition in 1941.

After World War II, he left the Kokugakai and formed the Shinsho Bijutsu Kogei Kai with Tomimoto Kenkichi. He then began dyeing using the katazome method in 1948, and continued to do so for the rest of his life. He was appointed a professor at his alma mater, the Kyoto City University of Arts, in 1958. He was designated a Living National Treasure in 1962, a year before his death from cancer on June 10, 1963.

His woodblock prints are almost entirely numbered editions, signed in pencil with the name of the publishing house Mikumo.