Arai Yoshimune was a Japanese artist associated with the shin-hanga (“New Prints”) art movement in Japan during the early 20th century. This movement was influenced by European Impressionism and its imagery focused on landscapes, women, and nature. In the 1920s, the publisher Hasegawa commissioned a small group of artists to create woodblock prints for a series entitled “Hasegawa’s Night Scenes“, of which there were a total of 21 prints by 6 artists.
The print is an image of Suma Beach at night, with a full moon glowing beyond the branches of a tall pine tree on the beach. Two laborers can be seen, possibly collecting seawater for processing into salt, one walking along the shore with a yoke over his shoulder while the other dips his buckets into the shallow water as waves lap at the sand.
To see all of the different renderings that we have please go to our Suma Beach at Night tag.
The Woodblock Print
This print is in near pristine condition with full margins, strong color with no discolorations, and solid bleed-through to the verso. This is a middle-edition copy of the piece, as evidenced by the margins yet still thin paper.
Utagawa Yoshimune II (1863-1941), who went by the name of Arai Yoshimune, was the eleventh and youngest son of Utagawa Yoshimune I (1817-1880) and spent his childhood residence in the Kinroku-chō area of Tokyo. At a young age he studied with the famous ukiyo-e artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) and he assumed the name Toshiyuki at age thirteen. After his father’s death he was adopted by the Arai family. He succeeded his father in 1882 to become Yoshimune II and occasionally used his father’s art name Isshōsai, along with the adopted name Arai Yoshimune.
Arai worked as illustrator and print designer, with much/most of his known work printed by either the Hasegawa or Nishinomiya publishing houses, his most famous contributions coming as part of Hasegawa’s Night Scenes.