Toshikata MIZUNO

Born in Edo in 1866 (renamed Tokyo in 1868) and traditionally trained in classic Japanese printmaking and ceramic painting, Toshikata Mizuno’s lifetime coincided with a steep decline in support and popularity for traditional Japanese printmaking to a nationwide obsession with the West. Previously, a talented printmaker could expect a comfortable living and even a measure of fame.  By the late 19th century, opportunities for traditionally trained artists were limited. However, amidst the wealth and military prosperity of the Meiji era, reading became a new activity among the lower economic class in Japan. Kuchi-E prints helped sell romantic novellas by targeting Japanese housewives, the primary audience. Although he passed early at the age of 43, Mizuno received steady work creating illustrations for newspapers and popular magazines.