Kason Suzuki – Bijin and Parasol


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Suzuki, Kason


(A) Very Fine Condition








Bungei Kurabu


Aiban (9″x13″)


Women / Geisha

The print was produced as a kuchie frontispiece for a novel from Bungei Kurabu magazine, Vol 12, No.15 in 1909. (This kuchi-e is untitled) This is a wonderful image of a beautiful woman with a parasol in the autumn field.

This image also appears in Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada’s book, “Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture.”

The Woodblock Print

Measuring roughly 9″x12″ or aiban-sized, this woodblock print is in very fine condition. It has the expected edge wear and light creases that are expected for its type of print, but these are very faint. Light thinning in the corners where the image was likely tipped at some time.

Frontispiece or Kuchi-e

Kuchi-e (口絵), literally “mouth pictures”, refers to a specific type of Japanese woodblock print that served as frontispieces for literary magazines and novels during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These prints were created by renowned artists who collaborated with publishers to produce visually striking and thematically relevant illustrations that complemented the accompanying literary works. Kuchi-e played a significant role in the popularization of ukiyo-e prints and showcased the talents of notable artists of the time (Marks, 2012).

One prominent artist associated with kuchi-e is Kaburagi Kiyokata. Known for his bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women), Kiyokata contributed numerous kuchi-e prints to literary publications. His delicate and refined style, characterized by graceful lines and vibrant colors, perfectly captured the elegance and allure of the female subjects depicted in these prints (Kobayashi, 2014).

Another notable artist associated with kuchi-e is Toshikata Mizuno. Toshikata was renowned for his historical and warrior-themed prints. His contributions to kuchi-e included illustrations featuring samurai warriors, historical events, and traditional Japanese tales. Toshikata’s dynamic compositions and attention to detail added depth and excitement to the literary works they accompanied (Marks, 2012).

The artist Gekko Ogata was also a prolific creator of kuchi-e prints. Gekko’s versatile style allowed him to capture a wide range of subjects, including landscapes, historical scenes, and genre prints. His kuchi-e illustrations often featured depictions of natural beauty, evoking a sense of tranquility and harmony that enhanced the reading experience (Kobayashi, 2014).

Other notable artists who contributed to the world of kuchi-e include Toyohara Chikanobu, Kajita Hanko, and Yamamoto Shoun. Chikanobu specialized in portraying historical events and scenes from the kabuki theater, while Hanko was known for his depictions of beautiful women. Shoun, on the other hand, incorporated Western elements into his kuchi-e prints, reflecting the influence of European art styles at the time (Marks, 2012).


  • Kobayashi, T. (2014). Takeuchi Keishu: Nihon no Nishiki-e [Takeuchi Keishu: Japanese Woodblock Prints]. Tokyo: Gakken.
  • Marks, A. (2012). Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers and Masterworks: 1680-1900. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing.

About the Artist

Kason Suzuki (鈴木華邨, January 24, 1860 – January 3, 1919) was a prominent Japanese woodblock printer known for his masterful technique and unique style. Born in Tokyo, Suzuki began his artistic training as a student at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. After graduating, he studied woodblock printing under the tutelage of the celebrated artist and master printer Un’ichi Hiratsuka.

Suzuki’s style is characterized by its delicate lines, intricate details, and rich colors. His prints often depict scenes from Japanese folklore and mythology, as well as landscapes and nature. He was particularly known for his use of the “bokashi” technique, which involves creating subtle gradations of color by using a special tool to apply ink to the woodblock.

One of Suzuki’s most famous works is his series of prints depicting the “Tales of Ise,” a collection of classical Japanese poetry. The series features elegant depictions of natural scenes and landscapes, rendered with the artist’s signature attention to detail and use of color.

Suzuki’s work earned him international recognition, and he exhibited his prints in galleries and museums around the world. He was awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the prestigious Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Japanese government.

In addition to his work as an artist, Suzuki was also a dedicated teacher. He taught at several art schools and institutions throughout his career, including the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and the Japan Print Association. Many of his students went on to become prominent woodblock printers in their own right; Ohara Koson (1877-1945), a famous woodblock printmaker, was one of his students.


  • “Kason Suzuki: Master Printmaker” by Naoko Takahatake, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2018)
  • “The Art of Kason Suzuki” by Richard Lane, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (1984)
  • “Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers and Masterworks 1680-1900” by Andreas Marks, Tuttle Publishing (2010)