Nakajima, Kiyoshi

Nakajima Kiyoshi (中島 潔) was born in Manchuria, N.E. China, in April 1943. After the war his parents went to Saga (N.W. Kyûshû), and he attended the Nishi Karatsu Prefectural High School. On the eve of his graduation, when he was 18 years old, his mother died of cancer, his father remarried two months afterwards, and in a state of depression was unable to take his college entrance exam.

In 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympics, he moved to Tokyo and threw himself into the world of advertising with a part of his earnings going to his sister, who was still at high school, while also taking a part-time job as a cartoonist.

At age 28 he moved to Paris, where he attended art school and gradually developed as a painter. Finally in 1982 he became famous when an exhibition of his paintings travelled throughout Japan and he was dubbed “wind painter”, or “painter of the wind” (風の画家 – kaze no gaka) by the art critic Susumu Abe, an epithet that has clung to him ever since.

Nakajima Kiyoshi is mainly known as a painter and as an illustrator of children’s books. Apart from that he made a limited series of woodblock prints showing young girls, mostly in a melancholy mood and being affected by the wind.