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Matsuzaki, Mysterious Doi Printer

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There has been considerable uncertainty surrounding the printer Matsuzaki, who apparently worked for Teiichi Doi in the 1930's. According to the notes of member Phil Roach. His seals have been appearing on prints which seem new -- is this a new printer with the same name? A grandson, perhaps? Is there a tradition or policy in place at Doi to allow old printer stamps to be re-used?

Some of our members have been hot on this trail; here are notes from the casebook:

Entry 1

After a question is raised about the print "Yanagibashi" and its Endoh/Matsuzaki seal combination, the discussion begins with this memo:

    "In a curio shop next to the Imperial Hotel Tokyo I found this infamous Matsuzaki print, offered for 15,000., approximately USD $140. Brand new, just coming from the "press", with the Doi Eichi seal and the Endoh-Matsuzaki combination. I feel that Doi just used the old seals, but why?

    "Around 40 different Koitsi prints were offered there, most with Hamano or Seki as printer, which I consider "correct". Also a few prints of Nouët were offered, most with the "acceptable" combination Doi Eiichi, Endoh, and Seki. But there was one exception, the 1936 Nouët print "Ryogoku Bashi", with the seals: Doi Eiichi, Endoh, and Ito. Eichi and Endoh match together timewise, but not Eiichi and Itoh! [see preliminary timeline for Doi printers] I feel the same thing happened here, namely the use of old seals on new prints.

    "The mystery continues....

    "P.S. Maybe we Westerners spend too much thought on this. The Chigasaki Koitsu catalogue always mentions simply "Doi Han" as publisher, regardless of whether the seal is Doi Teiichi or Doi Hangaten."

Entry 2

In January 2000 we had a telephone conversation with Mrs. Doi, the widow of Eiichi Doi, son of the founder Teiichi Doi. It was not very enlightening:

    "My secretary asked Mrs. Doi about the printer Matsuzaki. Mrs. Doi replied "Oh yes, he worked for us in the past, but not now". My feeling (not disclosed): What does "past" mean: 5 years ago, 50 years? "But not now"....Is he still alive?"

Entry 3

Then in February 2000, this update:

    "I found another Matsuzaki last week. It is Koitsu's "Sengakuji Temple, Tokyo", Showa 8. It carries the seal combination Doi Eiichi, Endoh, Matsuzaki. The print was brand new and offered for 15,000.- which is around USD $140.-. The shopkeeper at Matsushita Gallery tried to explain this seal combination to me with the following words:"

      Sometimes the carver-printer seal combination is part of the key block and when they (Doi) reprint using the old existing keyblock, they keep both seals, accepting that the printer seal is the wrong one. Later, they attach only the Doi Eiichi seal to show that this print is posthumous. In cases that the keyblock had to be recut, they insert the correct name of the contemporary printer.

    "Doesn't sound unreasonable?"

Entry 4

This was added a little later:

    "Re: Matsuzaki. Do we have any proof that he really was acting in the 1930's for Doi? I feel we hunt a phantom. I just want to see some evidence. There is only a carver Matsuzaki mentioned as instructor of Koitsu, but this was back in 1885."

Entry 5

Finally, we get some additional information from Mrs. Doi in person -- Matsuzaki seems to be a current printer, working in the 1990's and today. He is probably not the same person referred to from the 1930's. Members can read about this in our ShinHanga.net exclusive interview with Mrs. Doi.

Entry 6 -- News Flash

A new member sent in this interesting new information which partly confirms and partly corrects the impression we got from Mrs. Doi:

    One of your pages [here] discusses the printer Matsuzaki. I had to phone him this morning about a TV program that we are working on for the Discovery Channel, and while I had him on the line, I asked whether or not he has done work for Doi.

    He said not recently ... and then called his wife to help him remember. She and he together thought that he had done a bunch of Doi's prints "around 25~30 years" ago. (But I should mention that he certainly didn't sound very confident about the date.)

    I asked which images, but he just laughed. No way to remember such a thing ...

    A short piece on Matsuzaki is also in my newsletter. (issue #4, Summer 1991).

This article, wonderfully written, reveals that Keizaburo Matsuzaki began woodblock printing as a 15-year-old apprentice around 1952. Not quite the 1930's, but neither is he strictly a "late" printer.
Hats off to Dave Bull for this useful clarification


Please send in your comments.
Many thanks to Andreas for the inside look at a shin hanga investigation
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Old Man M

Whoever was the Showa-era printer Matsuzaki, he is not to be confused with another, earlier craftsman of the same name but different trade. In the 1955 Watanabe catalog, we find this interesting passage:

"[Tsuchiya] Koitsu was born in the suburb of Hamamatsu in 1870. At the age of fifteen he came to Tokyo and became a pupil of a wood-block-cutter, Matsuzaki; because Matsuzaki was carving blocks for Kobayashi Kiyochika, Koitsu became known to Kiyochika, became his pupil, and lived in his house as a member of his family for some 19 years."
Thanks to Phil Roach



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