- Museum number
- Object: Shinsho Fuji 新頌富士 (Fresh Praise: Fuji)
Illustrated book. One volume. Anthology of poetry with two images of Mt Fuji: Image one with peak of Fuji beyond clouds; image 2 with half snow covered Fuji with other mountains in foreground. Colour woodblock-printed and metal typed.
- Production date
Height: 28.80 centimetres (covers)
Width: 20 centimetres (covers)
- Curator's comments
Hillier and Smith 1980
An anthology with two prints by the foremost master of modern 'Sosaku hanga', creative woodcuts. It has the traditional make-up of 'verse and colour print' like so many of the finest Japanese illustrated and decorated books of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Onchi contributed the design of the book - hand-printed decorated covers and title slip (The cover is illustrated and described in Onchi Kunio, 'Onchi Koshiro sohon no gyo', Tokyo, Sanseido, 1982, no. 377, p. 145) - and these two illustrations: Mt Fuji above clouds and, again, seen through an autumn valley Maeda was a leading poet in the 'tanka' form, later also successful in free verse, who was noted for the naturalism of his style. In the postscript he explains how, in retreat in the Chichibu Mountains to till the land, he selected 101 verses from the period 1914-45; he tells how they represent not mere depictions of Fuji, but a facet of his spiritual activity as he has been constantly inspired by the mountain over that period. The preface, too, is a call for renewed appreciation of Fuji's beauty in the aftermath of war: 'Ah, Fuji! It is all the more because our land of Japan has fought and been defeated that your expression is so wise and sure ('sakashii').'
Onchi was the leading abstract print artist of his time, with wide-ranging fields of activity and influence - notably collaborative magazines of poetry and prints (beginning with 'Tsukubae', 1914-15), and also book design and lettering. He was a major force in the Nihon Sosaku Hanga Kyokai (Japan Creative Print Association) and Nihon Hanga Kyokai (Japan Print Association), and sustained the ideals of the Creative Print movement throughout the course of the war by means of the monthly meetings of his Ichimokukai (First Thursday Club). The image of Fuji above the clouds (Onchi had famously recorded his impression of a plane-flight in 'Hiko kanno' ('Sensations of Flight') in 1928), in particular, evokes considerable delicacy and sentiment in the immediate post-war context: the mountain appears almost vulnerable.
Smith, Lawrence. 'The Japanese Print Since 1900'. London, British Museum Press, 1983, no. 90.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001, 11 May-29 Jul, BM Japanese Galleries, '100 Views of Mount Fuji'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: JH.399 (Hillier no.)