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Itō, Shinsui

Shinsui Itō (伊東 深水, February 1898 – 8 May 1972) was the pseudonym of  Nihonga painter and ukiyo-e woodblock print artist, and one of the great names of the shin-hanga art movement.

Itō was born in the Fukagawa district of Tokyo. After unwise investments bankrupted his father’s business, he was forced to drop out of elementary school in the third grade and became a live-in apprentice at a printing shop. It was in this manner that he became interested in printing techniques and also in the arts, later becoming a student of Kiyokata Kaburagi. When he was 17 years old he was admitted to exhibit at the Bunten exhibition. Ito was approached by the publisher Watanabe to design prints for him (like fellow artists Kawase Hasui and Shiro Kasamatsu). The collaboration between the two men lasted for several decades until 1960. In 1952 his art was declared an “Intangible Living Treasure”, one of the highest official awards an artist could receive, and in 1970 the artist was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.

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