Hashiguchi Goyo (橋口五葉) (Biographical details)

Hashiguchi Goyo (橋口五葉) (printmaker; Japanese; Male; 1880 - 1921)

Also known as

Hashiguchi Goyo


Print artist, celebrated for his designs of beautiful women (bijinga). Goyo is usually known under this art name, a tradition carried from 'Ukiyo-e' into 'Shin Hanga', but he in fact worked mainly as a Western-style painter, illustrator and book designer and should more properly be known as Hashiguchi. Born in Kagoshima, in the south of Kyushu, the son of a minor traditionalist painter, he became interested in Kano-school painting in his youth and in 1899 went to Kyoto to study with Hashimoto Gaho (1835-1908). However, he was persuaded to take up Western painting by the influential Kuroda Seiki (1866-1924) who came from the same district as Goyo, and went to Tokyo to study at the Hakuba-kai (Western Painting Institute) and then at the Tokyo School of Art, where he graduated in 1905. His elder brother, the Western-style painter Hashiguchi Yasuo, introduced him to the novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), and as a result Goyo designed the first edition of his most famous novel 'Wagahai wa neko de aru' ('I Am a Cat', 1905). He subsequently designed around seventy titles. His paintings were exhibited in 1907 at the Tokyo Industrial Exhibition and at the Ministry of Education Bunten exhibition, but failing to be selected subsequently he gradually gave up oils. In 1911 he became interested in 'Ukiyo-e' prints after winning a poster competition with a study of a beautiful woman, and began to publish articles and studies on early artists of that school. As a consequence of these activities he met the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo, for whom he designed a print ('Bath', 1915) which was virtually the first of the 'Shin Hanga' movement, but wishing to have complete control over all the processes, he published his subsequent prints himself. In 1916-17 he supervised the twelve-volume 'Ukiyo-e fuzoku Yamoto nishikie' (Japanese Brocade Prints in Ukiyo-e Genre Style) containing hundreds of woodblock reduced-size facsimiles of the works of early masters. His handful of superbly produced prints of beautiful women have some of the stately sensuality of his model Kitagawa Utamaro (1754-1806). A small group of print designs unfinished at his early death were later published by his family.


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Hashiguchi, Goyo, "Nihon no mokuhanga" (Japanese Woodblock Prints), 'Shin shosetsu', September 1915.
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