Koizumi, Kishio (1893 - 1945), "Sengaku Temple in the Snow"
|Title||Sengaku Temple in the Snow|
|Medium||Original Japanese Woodblock Print|
|Series Title||100 Views of Great Tokyo in the Showa Era|
|Publisher||The Artist - Privately Published|
|Reference No||Great Tokyo, cat. #23; pg. 27; Waves of Renewal: #184; pg. 236|
|Size||15 -3/4 x 11 -3/4 "|
|Condition||Fine, with fresh colors.|
Notes: The artist wrote, "Seeing this temple in the snow reminded me of the Forty-Seven Loyal Retainers. I used a new technique to render the snow".
This print refers to the tale of the forty-seven loyal samurai who sought to avenge the death of their lord, Asano Takuminokami. After succeeding in their plot to kill their lord's enemy, Kira Kozukenosuke, they presented his head at the grave of their master at the Sengaku Temple and surrendered themselves to the shogunate. There was a heavy snowfall on the day of the attack in the twelfth month of 1702. - Waves of Renewal, pg. 236
In 1928, Koizumi embarked on an ambitious project to chronicle Tokyo in one hundred images. It took him over a decade to complete the series. Koizumi's original plan was to issue two prints per month in order to complete the set in five years. However, the process from the initial sketch, to carving the blocks and then the final printing could take more than two weeks, and it was soon apparent that his work schedule was unrealistic. He settled instead on making three prints every two months and eventually sought to underwrite production costs through a distribution club (hanpukai). Koizumi outlined his plans for the series: he would offer individual memberships for six months, with an eye to completing the set after eight such six-month allotments. Koizumi stresses that the prints are sosaku hanga, all carved and printed by him. Designs were printed from three to ten color blocks on high-quality Japanese paper. He concluded by stating that the hanpukai would have a maximum of fifty members.
The Completion of the series was announced in the December 1937 issue of the Japan Print Association bulletin and the event was celebrated by select members of the Japan Print Association in Tokyo's Suda-cho on January 15th 1938. Present members were Oda Kazuma, Taninaka Yasunori, Onchi Koshiro and Fujimori Shizuo. The Matsuzakaya department store in Ueno mounted the first exhibition of the entire set from September 16th-21st, 1941.