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.
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.
Seal #2 at the far left is translated as follows:
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.
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.
Also see below about other printers named Ito.
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.
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.
This printer's seal is not commonly found. The name is spelled out here in 4 Katakana characters.
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.
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.
A dealer catalog lists "Onotomi" as the Doi printer for a 1931 Hasui print. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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