- Also known as
Sasajima Kihei (笹島喜平)
primary name: Sasajima Kihei
- individual; printmaker; Japanese; Male
- Life dates
- Print artist. Sasajima was born in Mashiko, the village in which Hamada Shoji settled in 1924. He thus came early in life into contact with the Folk Art Movement, of which he was always a supporter. He was able to take a sketching course while training to be a teacher in Tokyo. From 1927 to 1945 he earned his living as a teacher, but found some time to study prints, notably in 1935 at a printing course given by Hiratsuka, who gave him his taste for monochrome work. In 1938 he was introduced by Hamada to Munakata, who became the major influence on his art; and in 1940 he also met Mori Yoshitoshi. That year he first exhibited at the Kokuga-kai exhibition. From 1945 he worked as a print artist, occasionally using colour but mostly in monochrome; he first became a member of the Nihon Hanga Kyokai in 1948 but withdrew to join Munakata in founding the Nihon Hanga-in in 1952. He began to be noticed internationally first when represented at the exhibition of contemporary Japanese prints in Yugoslavia in 1957; secondly when Oliver Statler mentioned him in 'Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn' (1956) and published two of his prints; and thirdly from exhibiting in the Tokyo Biennales 1957-66. In 1959 he held a two-man show in Washington, DC, with Hashimoto Okiie. In 1959 he became ill and lacked the strength to rub the impression into the paper with the traditional 'baren'. As a result, and inspired by stone-rubbing, he developed a new technique of forcing paper into a deep-cut block with a press and dabbing the raised areas with ink by use of pads. This produced works of three-dimensional quality which made his prints instantly recognisable. From 1962 he worked only on religious themes, including many explorations of Mount Fuji, the Sacred Mountain, and of the Buddhist Deity Fudo Myo-o (cf. 1986, 0321, 0485). His book of essays on art, 'Itchin', was published in 1967.
- Smith, Lawrence, 'Modern Japanese Prints 1912-1989: Woodblocks and Stencils', BMP, London, 1994, p. 34 and no. 66.
Petit, Gaston, '44 Modern Japanese Print Artists', II, Kodansha International, Tokyo, 1973, pp. 112-3 and nos 189-94.
Statler, Oliver, 'Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn', Turtle, Rutland, Vermont, and Tokyo, 1956, pp. 166-7 and nos 93-4.
Merritt, Helen, and Yamada, Nanako, 'Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints 1900-1975', University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1992, p. 131.
Kato, Junzo (ed.), 'Kindai Nihon hanga taikei', II, Mainichi Shinbun, Tokyo, 1975, nos 292-6.
Kawakita, Michiaki, 'Contemporary Japanese Prints', Kodansha International, Tokyo, 1967, p. 184 and pls 68-9. (English version of 'Gendai hanga, II (Nihon hanga bijutsu zenshu, 8)', Kodansha, Tokyo, 1961).
Kawakita, Michiaki (ed.), 'Kindai Nihon bijutsu jiten', Kodansha, Tokyo, 1989, p. 171.