Koizumi Kishio: Remembering Tokyo
The Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1923 was the worst natural disaster ever to strike Japan. It reduced much of Tokyo to rubble and left its inhabitants in despair. In the aftermath, the woodblock artist Koizumi Kishio (1893–1945) produced his most famous series of prints, Showa dai Tokyo hyakkei zue (One Hundred Views of Great Tokyo in the Showa Era) between 1928 and 1940. This exhibition presents thirty of the 100 Views, focusing on women in temples and shrines. In most cases Kishio shows the women in profile or facing away from the audience. The viewer cannot see their faces, and yet the message of each print, along with a sense of nostalgia for the past, is conveyed. This expressive means narrates, on the one hand, a sadness surrounding Tokyo after the calamity, and on the other an optimism for cosmopolitan rebirth.