Fujimori Shizuo (藤森静雄 1891-1943) born in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, lost his right thumb in a childhood accident, but nevertheless was able to carve woodblocks starting in the 1910s. He enrolled in the Hakubakai Institute of Western Painting in 1910, where he became friends with Tanaka Kyôkichi. He was accepted into the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1911 (graduated 1916), where early on he met Onchi Kôshirô. Together, the three young artists produced the seminal poetry and print magazine Tsukuhae ("Reflection of the Moon" or "Moonglow": 月映), issued from September 1914 until November 1915, when Tanaka's premature early death ended the project after seven issues. They called themselves Bishôha no sanin ("Three men of the smile school": 微笑派の三人), parodying the many artists' groups and associations that dominated the official art world. Their magazine featured both figurative and abstract prints. Apparently, during this period, the expressionism that was central to Onchi and Tanaka influenced Fujimori, whose designs (a total of 37 for Tsukuhae) incorporated the early style that the two more adventurous artists were pursuing.
Fujimori studied with the yôga (Western-style: 洋画) painters Kuroda Seiki (黒田清輝 1866-1924) and Fujishima Takei (藤島武二 1867-1943), and was inspired by another yôga painter, Shigeru Aoki (青木繁 1882-1911). For a few years, Fujimori taught in middle schools on Taiwan (where he gave lessons in block carving to Yamaguchi Gen) and in Fukuoka, but then moved to Tokyo in 1922 to work as a full-time artist. In 1939 he returned to live in Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture, where he remained until his death in 1943.
Fujimori contributed 13 designs to the "One hundred views of New Tokyo" (Shin Tokyo hyakkei
: 新東京百景). The series was published from 1928 to 1932 on a subscription basis by the Takujô (Table Group) through Nakajima Jûtarô of the Sôsaku Hanga Club. All eight artists represented in the series were members of Nihon Sôsaku Hanga Kyôkai
(Japan Creative Print Association, est. 1918) as well as founding members of Nihon Hanga Kyôkai
The 100 Views documented Shôwa era lifestyle as well as the rapidly modernizing city.
For more about this artist, see the Fujimori Biography on John Fiorillo's website.
The original Tokyo Meteorological Observatory (Tokyo Kishô-dai, 東京気象台) has undergone a series of name changes in agency affiliations over its history. It was formed within the Survey Division of the Geography Bureau of the Home Ministry (Naimu-shô Chiri-ryô Ryôchi-ka, 内務省地理寮量地課) in June 1875. It was renamed as the Central Meteorological Observatory or "JMA" (Chûô Kishô-dai, 中央気象台), with the transfer of its jurisdiction to the Home Ministry. On July 1, 1956 (nearly three decades after Fujimori's print), the name was once again changed to the Japan Meteorological Agency (Kishô-chô, 気象庁) as part of the Ministry of Transport. Finally, on January 6, 2001, Kishô-chô became an agency of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (Kokudo-kôtsû-shô, 国土交通省). Today, JMA now serves as one of the most advanced meteorological services in the world, assuming both national and international responsibilities.
Fujimori selected one of Tokyo's technological achievements for one of his 13 subjects to be included in the Shin Tokyo hyakkei. (As it happens, not long after, the artist Koizumi Kishio (1893-1945) also designed a print of this landmark site for his "100 Views of Great Tokyo in the Shôwa Era" (Shôwa dai Tokyo hyaku zue: 昭和大東京百圖絵) in 1934.) In this particular impression, Fujimori used a somewhat loose style of pigment application (probably influenced by Onchi Kôshirô), which lends itself to an expressive rendering of the famous view. Other impressions, however, including one from the complete set in the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (220.127.116.11.A), are more restrained and less interesting.
- Austin, James: Ukiyo-e Art A Journal of the Japan Ukiyo-e Society, No. 14, 1966.
- Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, acc. no. Carnegie Museum of Art (18.104.22.168.A).
- Onchi, Koshiro, "The Modern Japanese Print: An Internal History of the Sosaku Hanga Movement," trans. U. Osamu and C. H. Mitchell, in: Ukiyo-e geijutsu, no. 11, 1965, p. 24.
- Merritt and Yamada: Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints, 1900-1975. University of Hawaii Press, 1992, pp. 267-270.
- Uhlenbeck, Chris, Newland, Amy, and de Vries, Maureen: Waves of renewal. modern Japanese prints 1900 to 1960. Leiden: Hotei Publishing, 2016, pp. 54, nos. 214-216.