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Shinsui, Ito (1898 - 1972)

Ito Shinsui was born Ito Hajime in Tokyo, he was forced to seek work at age 10, due to an impoverished family. He was hired by the Tokyo Printing Company and earned an apprenticeship at age 14. He studied with Kaburagi Kiyokata and attended night school at the same time. Kiyokata gave him his own artist's name, "Shinsui". In 1916 Watanabe Shozaburo discovered his talent, and they collaborated on prints for the next 25 years. Watanabe exported hundreds of Shinsui prints, generating great success for them both. Shinsui's early landscape series, Eight Views of Lake Biwa inspired Kawase Hasui. His early bijin-ga are generally considered his finest works. In 1952 his woodblock designing skill was designated as an Intangible Cultural Property. In 1958 he was appointed to the Japan Art Academy and in 1970 was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.