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Doi Printers

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Dubious distinctions


Little has been published in English about these craftsmen, whose toil and skill make up an essential part of the shin hanga 'quartet'. Here are some collected snippets of information.

Note: a unique and valuable timeline of Doi printers is now available for review. You can also read an article with detailed biographical information about some Doi printers and carvers.

It's interesting to note that some or all of the characters were freely alternated between Kanji and Katakana. Some examples are shown below.

Updates, corrections, and images of additional seals can be sent to us via email.

Goto #2 -- Click for full seal set Goto #1 -- Click for full seal set Goto Manjiro (or Gotoh) is listed in the Koitsu catalog ("Chigasaki") as the printer for 3 prints from 1933 and 2 prints from 1934. Seal appears on 4 prints recorded by Philip H. Roach, Jr.

Seal #2 at the far left is translated as follows:

    Suri - printer
    Go - Nelson 1610
    To - Nelson 4090

Goto Manjiro was an active printer belonging to the Shinzo Enokiya School in 1932. He passed away in about 1952. His work for Doi Teiichi included several prints by Hasui and Koitsu, between 1931 and 1934.
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Hamano Hamano Masayoshi has printed Koitsu's works from 1995 until the present day. Collectors often take into consideration the fact that Hamano prints are quite new. Seal appears on 1 print recorded by Philip H. Roach, Jr., with name listed as 'Hamana'.

Hamano Masayoshi was born apparently in the early 1950's and studied under Komatsu Heihachi in the 1970's. He replaced Seki Kenji as Doi's principal printer in about 1995. Source: Chihiro "Tosh" Doi.
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Ito #1 Ito #2 Ito Kosaburo (or Itoh Kosaburo) printed for Doi in the early 1930's. This Ito also printed the works of the French artist Noël Nouët at Doi in 1936, perhaps with Endo as carver. See related article. Seal appears on 3 prints recorded by Philip H. Roach, Jr.

Also see below about other printers named Ito.
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Ito #3 A printer named Ito Tomo (or Itoh Tomoro) is believed to be the younger brother, or perhaps nephew, of Ito Kosaburo listed above. It's possible that his full name was Ito Tomosato.

His printer seal would also read "Ito", making it hard to distinguish from the Ito seals above. But he printed for Doi later than Ito Kosaburo, probably postwar, based on the carver and publisher seals that appear in the same koma group. For example, the seal combination Endo-Ito-Doi Eiichi is probably postwar, and is thus attributed to this printer Ito Tomo. Source: Andreas Grund.


Note: Overall there are possibly 5 printers named Ito to consider: Eikichi, Shinichi, Toraji, Kosaburo, and Tomoro. Unfortunately the printer's seal will typically only read "Ito", and it's not known how to distinguish among them.

Mrs. Doi said in an interview that it was Kosaburo and one of his brothers, believed to be either Shinichi or Toraji. Ito Tomoro was apparently the adopted son of Toraji which would make him Kosaburo's nephew. The accuracy of this account, and the related issue vertical vs. offset seals, are both factors to consider. Overall, the various Ito's have been combined for now, in our Doi seal timeline.
Click to see the source of this biographical information.

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Matsushita #1 Matsushita #2 Tamotsu Matsushita was another printer working for Doi in the 1930's period. Seal appears on 8 prints recorded by Philip H. Roach, Jr.

For Seal #1 (far left), after the printer symbol are three Kanji characters, matsu, shita, and tamotsu. Another version of this seal omits the last character.

Seal #2 has a different treatment of the name, with Katakana characters for Ma and tsu and a Kanji character for shita.
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Matsuzaki -- Click for full seal setMatsuzaki is the printer for a very recent edition of a 1934 Koitsu night scene [small] [medium] [large]. See separate article.

This printer's seal is not commonly found. The name is spelled out here in 4 Katakana characters.
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Ono Hiko Ono Hiko is the printer for an early edition of the popular Koitsu print "Benkei Bridge".

It's likely that this is actually Ono Hikojirô, mentioned in Merritt & Yamada as printing for Watanabe and Daireisha around 1950. But it seems he (also) worked earlier, printing Ito Shinsui images for Watanabe in the late 1930's and early 1940's. Mrs. Watanabe recalls that Ono Hiko worked for them before the war.

Our Doi printer timeline previously showed Ono Hiko just for the year 1934, since his only known appearance for Doi was an apparently early edition of that year's "Benkei Bridge". But there is current discussion about the Doi Seal G which appears with Ono Hiko's seal; it may be post-war.
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Ono TomiOno Tomisaburô, or Ono Tomi, was active 1930's to 1950's for Watanabe, Takamizawa and other publishers, and for artists who self-published (according to Merritt & Yamada). This example seal is from a print by Sekido (not Sekino), published by Kondo Kihachiro in the 1940's. This seal reads O-No in Hiragana and Tomi in Kanji. Click for a pop-up image of the full name Ono Tomisaburo, from a Fusui Gabô print

A dealer catalog lists "Onotomi" as the Doi printer for a 1931 Hasui print. Winter Moon at Field of Toyama, Dec. 1931 -- 1980 Shogun catalog, #28   Until a date range can be confirmed, this printer has been temporarily removed from our Doi seal timeline.

Meanwhile, we note that Ono Tomisaburô printed Hasui's "Rising Moon at Morigasaki" in October 1931, with Fujikawa Tsurujiro as carver. This print was published by Hôjudô, and is not listed in Narazaki. Source: Chihiro "Tosh" Doi.

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Seki Kenji Seki was a Doi printer for 4 decades, until about Heisei 7 (1995).

In an interview, Mr. Seki reports that he began working for Doi in 1955, as a young apprentice to Doi's main printer Yokoi. But even for prints he produced on his own, Seki says they always bore the printer's stamp of the master Yokoi. Finally in 1965, Seki succeeded Yokoi as the main Doi printer, and began placing his own stamp on Doi prints. It was previously believed that Seki's stamps were used beginning in 1945.

Although now retired from Doi, Seki remains active in printmaking and public education. He demonstrated printmaking techniques for two days at the Japan Expo, November 27-28, 1999, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Seal appears on 2 prints recorded by Philip H. Roach, Jr.
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Yamada Little is known about Yamada Kozaburo's years printing for Doi. Seal appears on 5 prints recorded by Philip H. Roach, Jr.

He passed away in 2000, and had not been active for many years prior. He is survived by (going down the chain of master/apprentice) Nakajo, Numabe, and recently added Ueda Shingo. Many thanks to Dave Bull.
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Yokoi #1 Yokoi #2 Yokoi #3 Yokoi: "active in 1930's, in Tokyo, printed for Doi" - Merritt & Yamada.

Seals #1 and #2 show that these carver and printer stamps were sometimes recarved. In seal #3, only the last syllable i was changed to Kanji. Seal appears on 26 prints recorded by Philip H. Roach, Jr.

Mrs. Doi reported in a telephone interview that Yokoi, now passed away, was the first Doi printer. By her recollection, Yokoi was active until around Showa 20 (1945) when he was succeeded by Seki (see above). In a later interview she confirmed this approximate time frame.

But Mr. Seki tells us in his interview that he began working for Doi in 1955, as a young apprentice to Doi's main printer Yokoi. Seki says he officially succeeded Yokoi as the main Doi printer in 1965, and began placing his own stamp on Doi prints.
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Quick Links:

  • Goto
  • Hamano
  • Ito Kosaburo
  • Ito Tomo
  • Matsushita
  • Matsuzaki
  • Ono Hiko
  • Ono Tomi
  • Seki
  • Yamada
  • Yokoi

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