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Publisher: Watanabe Mokuhan Bujitsu Gahō (渡邊木版美術画舗)

Alternate names:
Shōbidō (firm name from 1906-08 - 尚美堂)
Watanabe Hangaten (firm name from 1909 - 渡辺版画店)
Ukiyo-e Kenkyūkai (firm name 1922-23 - 浮世絵研究会)
Watanabe Shōzaburō (family name - 渡邊庄三郎)

Lifetime: 1906

Related links: Hanga Gallery;

Biography:

Watanabe Shōzaburō (渡辺庄三郎) was born on June 2, 1885 and died on February 14, 1962.

Artists published by this house (Marks 576) include Ishiwata Kōitsu, Itō Takashi, Shirō, Hasui, Oda Kazuma, Hiroaki, Tsuchiya Kōitsu, Uehara Konen, Yoshida Hiroshi, Goyō, Hakuhō, Shinsui, Kōka, Natori Shunsen, Sōzan, Koson and Ueno Tadamasa.

This house also offered modern reproductions of works by Harunobu, Hiroshige, Hokusai and Utamaro.

Artists in the Lyon Collection who have been published by this house are highlighted in bold type.

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Watanabe Shōzaburō... was a Japanese print publisher and the driving force behind the Japanese printmaking movement known as shin-hanga ("new prints"). He started his career working for the export company of Kobayashi Bunshichi, which gave him an opportunity to learn about exporting art prints. In 1908, Watanabe married Chiyo, a daughter of the woodblock carver Chikamatsu.

Watanabe employed highly skilled carvers and printers, and commissioned artists to design prints that combined traditional Japanese techniques with elements of contemporary Western painting, such as perspective and shadows. Watanabe coined the term shin-hanga in 1915 to describe such prints. Charles W. Bartlett, Hashiguchi Goyō, Kawase Hasui, Yoshida Hiroshi, Kasamatsu Shirō, Torii Kōtondō, Ohara Koson (Shōson), Terashima Shimei, Itō Shinsui, Takahashi Shōtei (Hiroaki) and Yamakawa Shuho are among the artists whose works he published.

Much of his company's stockpile of both prints and their original printing-blocks was destroyed in the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. In the following years, new versions of many of these prints were created, using re-carved blocks; typically, the re-issued "post-quake" prints included changes/revisions in the design.

Watanabe exported most of his shin-hanga prints to the United States and Europe due to a lack of Japanese interest. After the close of World War II, his heirs continued the business, which still operates.