Japanese Watercolour Artists

Very little is known about the majority of the pre-war Japanese watercolour artists. It is generally accepted that the producers of early Japanese watercolours (from late Meiji to early Showa) studied the Western-style watercolour technique, with many artists also having a Western-style education. In most cases the artists signed their names in the usual Western way using Roman letters. Despite the fact that most were superbly talented artists, their paintings can be obtained very inexpensively at auction.

Artists represented here include R. Aoki, H. Fukaya, S. Hodo, S. Ishida (Shigeburo?), Yuhan Ito, Eika Kato, Kyoha, T. Masami, M. Matsu, Matsumoto, J. R. Ozawa, S. Niimi, H. Saito, Emiko Satsuta, K. Seki, T. Seki, Shuho, E. Terada, Fukutaro Terauchi, S. Tosuke, T. Tosuke, I. Yamanoi, T. E. Yanagiwara, Tasuke (G.T.) Yokouchi, A. Yoshida.


Artists' Bibliography and Notes

I often receive emails from collectors requesting more information on Japanese watercolour artists. Apart from the information listed below, I have unfortunately no other information. I am always interested in receiving new information, in particular information on the dates of watercolour purchases, etc.

S. Ishida
An owner of an S. Ishida watercolour writes that his Ishida watercolour was framed by "Henry Schultheis paintings and prints inc.". Henry was head of the business sometime after 1913 up until 1932, when his son took the business over. Thus we now have strong evidence that K. Seki was a pre-war artist. However another S. Ishida owner writes "About a year ago I picked up a Japanese watercolour signed S. Ishida. It is curious because the picture appears well painted and not particularly recent but the card has green backing which looks more modern than I would have expected.", so S. Ishida may have also continued painting in the post-war period too.

E. Kato
The artist E. Kato may be Eizo Kato (1906-1972) or Eika Kato (1859-1942, born in Fukui Japan) -- most probably the latter. I've seen one painting dated 1911, so definitely a pre-war artist.

M. Matsu
Mark Terry of New York writes that his aunt purchased an M. Matsu watercolour while in Japan in 1936/37, along with some woodblock prints published by Takemura Hideo. My M. Matsu watercolours below have a Takemura publisher's stamp on the verso, and we know that Takemura was active in the second-half of the 1930s. Thus we can say with a high degree of confidence that M. Matsu was a pre-war artist.

Emiko Satsuta
Nicole Swain provided this important information on the artist we have long known as "Satsuta": "I have been given these watercolours from my Grandfather. Until a few years ago they were hidden in his draws. I understand they were given to him by the daughter of the Caretaker from one of the Embassies in Hong Kong during World War 2. She was the artist". Included in Nicole's email were images of two Satsuta watercolours with the name "Emiko Satsuta" in both Japanese and English written clearly on the versos! What a wonderful discovery.

Yamanoi
An email from the USA mentions in part "He and my aunt traveled quite a bit through Japan in the 1930's. The (watercolour) is signed 'Yamanoi' in the right hand bottom of the picture.". Another collector writes: "I recently received a watercolor signed by Yamanoi that dates back to a trip my grandfather made between 1920-1930.". So it would appear that Yamanoi was indeed active in the pre-war period.

T. E. Yanagiwara
A note on the back of my Yanagiwara watercolour states "Presented to Mrs Frederick Shedd on May 5th 1922", so it would appear that T. E. Yanagiwara was definitely a pre-war artist.


Miscellaneous Artists 0


 

Artist: Aoki (watercolour artist)
Title: Boats On Lake Near Fuji
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Aoki R (watercolour artist)
Title: Boat Ride On River
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Fukaya, H (watercolour artist)
Title: Coastal View At Sunrise
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Fukaya, H (watercolour artist)
Title: Flowing River
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Fukaya, H (watercolour artist)
Title: Mt Fuji and Spring Cherry
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Hiroshi (watercolour artist)
Title: Boat on Lake by Mt Fuji
Date: 1900s

Artist: Ishida Shigesaburo (watercolour)
Title: Farm by Stream and Bamboo Grove
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Kason R (early 1900s watercolour artist)
Title: Misty Lake Scene
Date: 1900s

Artist: Kato Eika (watercolour)
Title: Evening Riverside Market Scene
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Kawashima, Minoru
Title: The Village, Kyoto
Date: 1940s/50s

Artist: Kenyu T (watercolour artist)
Title: Boat on Lake in Autumn
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Spring Rain at the Takeya Ferry Crossing, Matsuchiyama
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1929

Artist: Kobayashi Tokusaburo (watercolour painter)
Title: Autumn Tints
Date: 1910s/20s

Artist: Kondo (watercolour artist)
Title: Fuji in Full Spring
Date: 1940s

Artist: Kondo (watercolour artist)
Title: River Stream in Full Autumn
Date: 1940s

Artist: Masami T (watercolour)
Title: Fishermen Returning
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

Artist: Masami T (watercolour)
Title: Miyajima At Low Tide
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

Artist: Masami T (watercolour)
Title: Mt. Fuji and Mountain Pass
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

Artist: Matsuda (watercolour artist)
Title: Country Farm in Autumn
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Matsumoto, Y (watercolour)
Title: Sailboats on Lake by Mt Fuji
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Ozawa J R (watercolour artist)
Title: Fishing Boats on Snowy Beach
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Satsuta, Emiko
Title: Ships in Harbour Near Mount Fuji
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Satta (watercolour artist)
Title: Miyajima Torii and Sailboats
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Satta (watercolour artist)
Title: Riverside Village in Spring
Date: 1940s

Artist: Shuho (watercolour artist, 1920s/30s)
Title: Sailboats Under Moonlight
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Terada E (watercolour artist)
Title: Early Morning Beach Scene
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Uehara (Watercolour artist)
Title: Cottage by River Waterfall
Date: 1940s

Artist: Yamanoi (watercolour)
Title: Flowing River in Valley Forest
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Yamanoi (watercolour)
Title: Mt Fuji and River
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Yanagiwara, T E (watercolour artist)
Title: Sailboat in Lake Near Mt. Fuji
Date: 1922, May 5

Artist: Yoha K (Watercolour artist)
Title: Sailboats At Sea
Date: 1930s/40s

Yuhan Ito (1867-1942) 10


 Yuhan Ito was an accomplished woodblock print artist who published prints via the publisher Nishinomiya Yosaku. His given name is sometime called Yoshihiko or Yasuhiko, perhaps incorrectly, because the reading of his kanji signature (as found on some of his woodblock prints) is without doubt Yuhan.

Artist: Ito, Yuhan
Title: Countryside in Sunlit Haze
Date: 1930s

Artist: Ito, Yuhan
Title: Rainy street scene in spring
Date: 1930s

Artist: Ito, Yuhan
Title: Torii Gate in Bamboo Grove
Date: 1920s/30s

M. Matsu 20


 

Artist: Matsu M (watercolour artist)
Title: Evening Urban Street Scene - Bijin and Red Lantern
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Matsu M (watercolour artist)
Title: Evening Urban Street Scene - Bijin and Rickshaw
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Matsu M (watercolour artist)
Title: Evening View of a House on a Lake
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Matsu M (watercolour artist)
Title: Urban Evening View of a Bijin Holding a Parasol
Date: 1930s/40s

S. Niimi 30


 John Maddaus writes 'My mother lived in Sendai from 1935-1938 and came home with some of his watercolor prints'. Thus we can say with a high degree of confidence that S. Niimi was active pre-war. I have seen the name Saburo Niimi attributed to this artist, but I cannot confirm.

Artist: Niimi S (Watercolour)
Title: Kegon Waterfall, Nikko
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Niimi S (Watercolour)
Title: Mt Fuji and Sailboats on Lake
Date: 1920s

Artist: Niimi S (Watercolour)
Title: Mt Fuji In Snow
Date: 1920s/30s/40s

Artist: Niimi S (Watercolour)
Title: Pagoda by Rriver in Spring
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Niimi S (Watercolour)
Title: Torii By Lake In Autumn
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Niimi S (Watercolour)
Title: Yaizu-no-hara
Date: 1930s/40s

H. Saito and S. Hodo 40


 Unfortunately I do not know much about S. Hodo. I suspect he might be Saito Hodo, and he may have also used the name Nishimura Hodo (and perhaps H. Saito too), but I need further research data before I can conclude anything. In any case, his paintings were often sold via the publisher Takemura Hideo, with an accompanying sticker containing the publisher's details on the verso.

H. Saito is with little doubt Saito Hodo who published woodblock prints via Takemura Hideo. I have image examples of a woodblock print and a watercolour of the same scene, one signed 'Hodo' and the other signed 'Saito H.'. You can find two woodblock prints in my gallery here and here

Artist: Hodo S (watercolour artist)
Title: Pilgrim In Snow
Date: 1930s

Artist: Saito, Hodo (a.c. 1930s)
Title: Bijin Doing Ikebana
Date: 1930s

Artist: Saito, Hodo (a.c. 1930s)
Title: Bijin in a Garden with Iris
Date: 1930s

Artist: Saito, Hodo (a.c. 1930s)
Title: Bijin in a Japanese Garden
Date: 1930s

K. Seki and T. Seki 50


 An owner of K. Seki watercolours writes that her grandmother bought two of his/her paintings in Japan between 1925 and 1932, so it would appear that K. Seki was certainly a pre-war artist.

Artist: Seki T (watercolour artist)
Title: Misty Moonlit Night, Farmhouse by River
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Seki, K (Watercolour artist)
Title: Boatman on Mt Fuji Stream
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Seki, K (Watercolour artist)
Title: Cherry Tyrees by Riverside Hut
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Seki, K (Watercolour artist)
Title: Country Farm by Stream in Autumn
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Seki, K (Watercolour artist)
Title: Country Life Under Mt Fuji
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Seki, K (Watercolour artist)
Title: Cyprus Pines By Mt Fuji Lake
Date: 1930s/40s

Artist: Seki, K (Watercolour artist)
Title: Farm By Flowing Stream
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Seki, K (Watercolour artist)
Title: Japanese Garden
Date: 1920s/30s

Fukutaro Terauchi (born December 9th, 1891) 60


 Very little is known about the artist Fukutaro Terauchi. Marc Kahn of Shotei.com in his article 'Paintings by Terauchi, Masterpieces or Tourist Souvenirs?' speculated that Terauchi may be actually a group of artists who mass-produced watercolours for the tourist market. Later, I received an email from Fran Walker who owns an October 1963 Kyoto Hanga-In catalog, which contains two woodblock prints by the artist Fukutaro Terauchi (see my article on Kyoto Hanga-In catalogs here, and view page 27 of the 1963 catalog). One of these woodblock prints is shown below. Marc Kahn also received further independent information regarding Fukutaro Terauchi from a collector who purchased his paintings in the early 1970's. A Certificate of Authenticity included with these paintings states that Fukutaro Terauchi was born on December 9th, 1891. In 1910 he entered the private school of Kiyoteru Kuroda, and later became a member of the Hakuba Association. While we can speculate as to whether Terauchi was active pre-war or not, we can say with certainty that he was active in the 1960's and possibly the 1970's, although I have seen his death listed as having occurred in 1964. Do not confuse this artist with Terauchi Manjiro -- they are two different artists and their signatures are completely different. If you have a watercolour with a signature similar to those of the Terauchi paintings shown below, then your painting is not by Terauchi Manjiro.
December 2006: another collector states that she has a Terauchi watercolour purchased from Yamatoya Fine Art Gallery with original receipts stating a date of October 7, 1970.
June 2008: collector Laura Marino has a Terauchi painting in a frame that also contains a Japanese newspaper sheet dating to September 1958.
November 2011: Another collector, Pam, states 'My grandparents purchased these two paintings on March 13, 1979. Both watercolors have original certificates of purchase on the back from the Yamatoya Fine Art Gallery in Miyanoshita, Hakone, Japan.'

Artist: Terauchi Fukutaro (b. December 9th, 1891)
Title: Night Rain Under Willows
Date: 1940s/50s/60s

Artist: Terauchi Fukutaro (b. December 9th, 1891)
Title: Pagoda In Spring
Date: 1940s/50s/60s

Artist: Terauchi Fukutaro (b. December 9th, 1891)
Title: Spring at the Farm
Date: 1940s/50s/60s

Artist: Terauchi Fukutaro (b. December 9th, 1891)
Title: Two Storey Pagoda In Spring
Date: 1940s/50s/60s

Artist: Terauchi Fukutaro (b. December 9th, 1891)
Title: Winter Evening Town Scene
Date: 1940s/50s/60s

S. Tosuke and T. Tosuke 70


 The owner of an S. Tosuke painting writes that her grandmother Mrs Frederick Shedd was taken on a Thomas Cook world tour during 1921 and 1922. During this time she acquired several watercolours including 'an S Tosuke, a G Yokouchi and two T E Yanagiwara paintings'. This confirms S. Tosuke was active as early as 1922.

Artist: Tosuke S (watercolour artist)
Title: Hut By River In Bamboo Grove
Date: 1923/24

Artist: Tosuke S (watercolour artist)
Title: Pagoda on a Rainy Night
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Tosuke S (watercolour artist)
Title: Sailboats on a Lake by Mt Fuji
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

Artist: Tosuke S (watercolour artist)
Title: Shrine Entrance in a Snowstorm
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Tosuke S (watercolour artist)
Title: Valley Town By Mt Fuji In Winter (A)
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

Artist: Tosuke S (watercolour artist)
Title: Valley Town By Mt Fuji In Winter (B)
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

Artist: Tosuke S (watercolour artist)
Title: Village By Lake In Winter
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

Artist: Tosuke S (watercolour artist)
Title: Village by Mt Fuji at Dawn
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Tosuke T (watercolour artist)
Title: Cyprus Pines
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

Artist: Tosuke T (watercolour artist)
Title: Mt. Fuji and River Through Valley
Date: 1910s/20s/30s

G.T. (Tasuke) Yokouchi 80


 Tasuke Yokouchi (also known as G T Yokouchi), was an artist of renown talent who was active during the early part of the 20th century. He is probably the same artist as Ginnosuke Yokouchi (1870-1942), and, unknown to most collectors, he also self-published some striking limited-edition shin-hanga woodblock prints too (see a thorough biography of Yokouchi's woodblock print production at Hanga Gallery).
The owner of a G Yokouchi painting writes that her grandmother Mrs Frederick Shedd was taken on a Thomas Cook world tour during 1921 and 1922. During this time she acquired several watercolours including 'an S Tosuke, a G Yokouchi and two T E Yanagiwara paintings'. This confirms Yokouchi was active as early as 1922.

Artist: Yokouchi, Tasuke (G. T. Yokouchi)
Title: Departing Fisherman by Fuji
Date: 1940s

Artist: Yokouchi, Tasuke (G. T. Yokouchi)
Title: Night Fishing
Date: 1910s/20s

Artist: Yokouchi, Tasuke (G. T. Yokouchi)
Title: Pine Forest at Miho
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Yokouchi, Tasuke (G. T. Yokouchi)
Title: Village by Lake in Early Morning
Date: 1920s/30s

A. Yoshida 90


 Very little is known about this artist. He/she was an accomplished artist active in the pre-war period. One owner writes 'in case it helps your research the info I have on the painting is as follows: it was bought in Japan in 1917 by H.S. Williamson when he was traveling back to India from England.'
A. Yoshida was not the famous woodblock print artist Hiroshi Yoshida! Please be careful of sellers trying to flog off their A. Yoshida watercolours as being by Hiroshi Yoshida. How can we discriminate between A. Yoshida and H. Yoshida watercolours? That is a good question, and I am currently writing a research article on this very subject. As a simple check, if your painting has all three of the following characteristics:
  • the first initial looks in-between an H and an A,
  • the first initial and the 'H' in YOSHIDA look quite different, and
  • the surname YOSHIDA is written in capital letters only (not mixed upper/lower case)
then you have with little doubt an A. Yoshida watercolour.

Artist: Yoshida A (watercolour artist)
Title: Hut by Stream in Autumn
Date: 1920s/30s

Artist: Yoshida A (watercolour artist)
Title: Sailboats on Lake by Mt Fuji
Date: 1930s


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