Tokuriki, Tomikichiro

Tomikichiro Tokuriki (徳力富吉郎, March 22, 1902 – 1999) was born in Kyoto, Japan, and the 12th generation of a Kyoto artisan family designated as the official Kyoto print artists for the famous Honganji Temple. First taught by his grandfather, he entered the Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts with a two-year preparatory class and four years of regular training, and later a three year training at the Kyoto College of Art, graduating from Kyoto Art College in 1923. While still at college, the young artist discovered his passion for sosaku hanga prints – a movement that had spread from Tokyo to Kyoto. With the assistance of an old carver and an Ukiyo-e printer, Tomikichiro Tokuriki learned everything to master the complete process of design, carving and printing himself.

He produced many sets of prints before and during the Pacific War based on traditional subjects, such as ‘Shin Kyoto fukei’ (‘New View of Kyoto’, 1933-4), which also included designs by Asada Benji and Asano Takeji, and ‘Tokyo hakkei’ (‘Eight Views of Tokyo’, 1942). Most of these were published by Uchida of Kyoto, but after the war Tokuriki set up his own publishing company called Matsukyu, which also began to teach block-carving to artisans and artists, in later years many of them foreigners. In 1948 he also set up a sub-company called Koryokusha consisting of artists who would produce their prints under the financial umbrella of Matsukyu. Later he joined the Hanga Association and met other artists of the sosaku hanga movement like Hiratsuka, Masao Maeda, Kihachiro Shimozawa, Hide Kawanishi and Shiko Munakata.

Tokuriki Tomikichiro produced two lines of prints: there were the sosaku hanga prints, meaning creative prints, which were his real passion, and then there were pastel-like shin-hanga prints in soft colors with scenes of Japanese landscape and famous places, the prints for which he is more popularly known. “I’d rather do nothing but creative prints, but after all, I sell maybe ten of them against two hundred for a publisher-artisan print.” While the artist published his creative hanga-style prints himself, the artisan-prints were published by Uchida, Unsodo and other Kyoto publishers.