Ishiwata Kōitsu was a shin hanga artist active in the 1930s into the early 1950s who created poignant landscapes portraying the beauty of everyday life in urban and rural Japan. While his work never obtained the popularity of his contemporary and teacher, shin hanga artist Kawase Hasui, several of his prints are iconic of the shin hanga genre.
Born in Tokyo into a family of kimono designers, Ishiwata’s given name was Shōichirō 庄一郎, a name that would appear on many of his prints for the Tokyo publisher Katō Junji 加藤潤二 later in his career. After graduating from primary school he studied design, fabric dying and nihonga painting under his brother-in-law, the kimono designer Igusa Senshin, who had studied under the ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. In 1930 he went to work for Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885-1962), the publisher who birthed the shin hanga genre, working alongside his mentor Hasui and others within the publishing house.