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Watanabe Shōzaburō (渡辺庄三郎?, 1885-1962) 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 work he published.

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.

References

  • Machida Shiritsu Kokusai Hanga Bijutsukan, Taishō jojō shinhanga no bi ten, Watanabe Shōzaburō to shinhanga undō, Tokyo, Machida-shi, Machida Shiritsu, Kokusai Hanga Bijutsukan, 1989.

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