Oda Kazuma (織田一麿 1882-1956), born in Tokyo, studied Western-style painting with Kawamura Kiyo-o (1852-1934) and lithography with his elder brother Oda Tôu (a painter and lithograph printer in Osaka) as well as with Kaneko Masajirô (active 1884-early 1900s). In 1903 he worked as a designer at the Koshiba lithography studio in Tokyo. Around that time, or shortly before, he probably met the Prague-born Emil Orlik (1870-1932), whose lithographic prints were an inspiration. Although Oda worked primarily as a lithographer, he was also a ukiyo-e enthusiast, publishing two books on the subject — Ukiyo-e jûhachi kô (Eighteen studies of ukiyo-e) and Ukiyo-e to sashi-e geijutsu (Ukiyo-e and the art of illustration). In 1908, he contributed lithographs to the coterie magazine Hôsun ("Square Inch"). In the 1910s he produced sets of lithographs depicting scenes from Tokyo (Tokyo fûkei hangashû, Collection of prints of scenes in Tokyo, 1916-17) and Osaka (Osaka fûkei hangashû, Collection of prints of scenes in Osaka, 1917-19). He also designed six shin-hanga-style woodblock prints for the publisher Watanabe Shôzaburô in 1924. Oda participated in several art societies and was a founding member of the Nihon Sôsaku-Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Creative-Print Association, 1918, when he was its only lithographer), the Yôfû Hangakai (Western-Style Print Society, 1929-30), and the Nihon Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Print Association, 1931). Years later, in 1953, he opened his own private Oda Lithography Studio (Oda Sekihanjutsu Kenkyûjo). A prolific artist, the vast majority of his oeuvre was in the medium of lithography. His self-published prints were produced in small editions.
Arifuku Onsen in Shimane prefecture is popular spa town nestled in a scenic mountain landscape. It is a historical hot spring discovered in the year 650 by a hermit follower of Hôdô-Sennin (法道仙人), the seventh-century Indian ascetic who, legend has it, walked through China and Korea to reach Japan. The hot spring's alkaline spring water is called the Bijin-no-yû (''Hot spring for beauty''), as it is said to moisturize and beautify the skin.
Aside from producing his many lithographs, Oda Kazuma straddled both of the main woodblock printmaking genres in Japan. Known for his self-published sôsaku hanga (creative prints: 創作版画), he was also seen as an artist who embraced Western influences. At the same time, he produced woodcuts in the shin hanga (new print; 新版画) manner, as in the present design.
Here, Oda has depicted the main street in Arifuku Onsen, the popular spa resort, during a heavy evening snowfall as visitors navigate the slippery steps and shield themselves with umbrellas. The forms of the houses, trees, and hillside are delineated with a measure of softness and curvature that complements the circles of the umbrellas.
Impressions of this design are held in various museums, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art (acc. no. 2002.161.103), Carnegie Museum of Art (acc. no. 89.28.1107), Toleda Museum of Art (obj. no. 1939.255), and National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
- Brown and Goodall-Cristante, Shin-Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996, p. 78.
- Putney, Brown, Koyama, Binnie: Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints. Toledo Museum of Art, 2014, pp. 210-11.
- Reigle-Stephens, The new wave: Twentieth-century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection. Leiden: Hotei, 1993, pp. 135-136.
- Uhlenback, Newland, and de Vries: Waves of renewal: modern Japanese prints from the Nihon no hanga collection. Amsterdam: 2016, pp. 125-130.