When Japanese art historians write about one of their prominent masters of woodblock printing of the 20th century Kazuyuki Ohtsu (b. 1935), they often begin with the phrase like “the story of Ohtsu might probably seem a little bit strange to the Western public, since it belongs fully to the Japanese tradition.” And it’s truly so, as there’re numerous analogic stories among Japanese artists.
After his initial training from 1954 on at Umehara Hanga Studio in Tokyo, he worked for 40 years for the famous print maker Kiyoshi Saito, from 1958 until Saito’s death in 1997. This extremely long term relationship and incredible loyalty is hard for the Western mind to understand, as talented pupils in the West are most likely to leave the fold as soon as they have learned enough to succeed on their own.
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