There has been considerable uncertainty surrounding the printer Matsuzaki, who apparently worked for Teiichi Doi in the 1930's. 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?
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."
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?"
Then in February 2000, this update:
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."
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:
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.
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