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Sea of Fire from the series Five Scenes of Tsukushi

Sakamoto Hanjirō (1882-1969)

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Sea of Fire

from the series Five Scenes of Tsukushi,

by Sakamoto Hanjirō, 1970 (originally 1918)

Sakamoto Hanjirō (1882-1969)

IHL Cat. #1392

About This Print

This print by Sakamoto Hanjirō, picturing the ancient fortifications along Hakata Bay, is a 1970 reissue of a print originally released in 1918. (See IHL Cat. #862 for the original 1918 print and a comparison of the 1918 with the 1970 print.)  Originally the print was published by Nakajima Jūtarō and the Japan Scenery Prints Association as part of the a set of five prints titled Tsukishi District which was part of the 10 set series titled Japan Scenery Prints.  In 1970, the publisher Katō Junji reissued the five scenes of Tsukushi under the title Five Scenes of Tsukushi [筑紫五景 Tsukushi Gokei].  New printing blocks were very carefully recarved for this reissue, resulting in prints that closely match the 1918 releases.

For images of the original prints and the reissued prints, see the images below. 

Source: Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints - The Early Years, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, p. 276.
"Sakamoto Hanjirō's, Sea of Fire, 1918, from Set Number Six on the Tsukishi district is simple and elegant. It represents the remains of the stone walls along Hakata Bay which were erected after the first attempted Mongol invasion in 1274.  When the Mongols attacked a second time in 1281 they were unable to penetrate the wall and were ultimately defeated by a devastating typhoon which set fire to their ships. Sea of Fire refers to the raging fires in the bay."

Notes by Lawrence Smith on the Original Series "Japan Scenery Prints"
Source: Modern Japanese Prints 1912-1989, Lawrence Smith, British Museum Press, 1994, p. 42.
"Tsukushi is the ancient name of the area north-west of Kyushu [in the area of Chikuzen and Chikugo provinces] where Sakamoto was born. Sakamoto was rarely involved with sheet-prints, but like his colleagues on this series he had worked as a cartoonist and illustrator and had been a collaborator on the magazine Hōsun hence he was well used to graphic techniques. Indeed, his set [Tsukushi district] is the most strikingly designed in the series, combining impressionist, abstract and Expressionistic elements into a characteristically forceful blend."

Set Number Six, Tsukushi district
from the series Japan Scenery Prints, 1918
Sakamoto Hanjirō
As originally issued by Nakajima Jūtarō
Five Scenes of Tsukushi
(筑紫五景 Tsukushi Gokei)
Sakamoto Hanjirō
As published in 1970 by Katō Junji (aka Kata Junzō) of
Nihon Hanga Kenkyūsho (Kenkyūjo) (Katō Print Institute)

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1392
火の海 [Hi no umi - Sea of Fire]
Title as given in table of contents for 1918 first edition:
火の海 ひのうみ [Hi no umi - Sea of Fire]
Subtitle as given in table of contents for 1918 first edition:
沖の端より望む  おきのはたよりのぞむ
 Series Five Scenes of Tsukushi [筑紫五景 Tsukushi Gokei]
 Sakamoto Hanjirō (1882-1969)
unread artist's seal
 Publication Date
 Edition second
版元 加藤版画研究所 (embossed in right margin)  hanmoto Katō hanga kenkyūjo [Kato Print Institute, Katō Junji] [Marks: pub. ref. 219; seal not shown] 
originally by Nakajima Jūtarō 中島 重太郎 of the Japan Scenery Prints Association 日本風景版
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - tipped into original presentation folder
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative print)
 Format chuban
 H x W Paper 7 5/8 x 10 1/2 in. (18.1 x 26.7 cm)
 H x W Image 6 3/4 x 9 5/16 in. (17.1 x 23.7 cm)
 Collections This Print Carnegie Museum of Art (1918 release)
 Reference Literature  Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1992, p. 264-265; Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints - The Early YearsHelen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, p. 275; Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century, Amanda T. Zehnder, Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009, p. 155; Images of a Changing World: Japanese Prints of the Twentieth Century, Donald Jenkins, Portland Art Museum, 1983, p. 68.