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 Shin Tokyo hyakkei
(One hundred views of New Tokyo: 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.
At 9.30 a.m. on March 22, 1925, Japan's first radio broadcast was transmitted by the Tokyo Broadcasting Station from a temporary studio in the library of the Tokyo Higher School of Arts and Crafts in the Shibaura district. The announcer began with the station's call sign, "J-O-A-K," exaggerating his intonation and carefully extending the pronunciation of each letter (a recording of this call-out still exists). The sign-on was followed by an address from the first governor of the station, Gotô Shinpei (後藤新平, 1857–1929). Mr. Gotô expressed his expectations regarding the potential of radio broadcasting, stressing four aspects: equal access to the benefits of modern culture, higher quality of family life, promotion of public education, and invigoration of the economy. Then, on July 12th of the same year, regular radio broadcasts began in Atagoyama, which came to be known as "the birth place of Japanese broadcasting" as well as the inaugural site of the NHK public broadcasting system. In the early days, radio in Japan was said to be "wireless telephone listening" (chôshu musen denwa, 聴取無線電話). Today, March 22 is celebrated as "Broadcasting Memorial Day" (hôsô kinenbi, 放送記念日).
Fujimori rendered a fairly accurate though stylized image of the station building (see photo at right from circa 1925). The continuous rebuilding and modernizing of Tokyo after the Great Kantô Earthquake of 1923 was a source of pride to the Japanese, and technological advances such as early radio broadcasting would have been understood as part of the indomitable national character.
- 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, 1028633.
- 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.