Helping a Beauty in Distress
kuchi-e (woodblock printed frontispiece); with artist's seal Hanko, ca. 1905
8 3/4 by 12 in., 22.2 by 30.5 cm
Kajita Hanko (given name Jojiro) was the son of Kajita Masaharu, a metalsmith in Tokyo. Jojiro began studying art around the age of thirteen with Nabeta Gyokuei, initially taking the art name Gyokushu, but withdrew for a time due to an eye disease. When his condition improved he became the student of the Ishii Kenko (1847-1897), a nanga artist who had also studied Western-painting. Kenko was the father of the artists Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958) and Ishii Tsuruzo (1887-1973), both of whom were involved with the creative print movement. In 1886 Jojiro began working for an export company where he met the painter and print artist, Suzuki Kason (1860-1919). Kajiro took the art name Hanko in the same year. In April 1898 he married the novelist Kitada Usurai (1868-1900), but she died a little over two years later in November of 1900 from tuberculosis at the age of only twenty-four.
His early work included Sino-Japanese war triptychs in 1896, and in 1899 he began designing sashi-e (inserts) for the Yomiuri shimbun newspaper which led to designing kuchi-e for novels. He was an active member of various painting groups, and starting in 1902 he began heading a study group and private art school for the study of life drawing called Hakkokai (Or Byakkokai) that attracted participation from the famous nihonga painter Maeda Seison (1885-1977), kuchi-e artists such Tsutsui Toshimine (1863-1934) and Yamanaka Kodo (1869-1945), as well as Kaburaki Kiyokata (1878-1972) and Uehara Konen (1878-1940), both of whom would play a role in the shin-hanga movement.
Helen Merritt, and Nanako Yamada, Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture, 2000, pp. 201-203 (artist's biography)
Nanako Yamada, Mokuhan Kuchi-e (Survey of Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints), 2006, p. 251
(inv. no. C-3280)
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.
site last updated
October 21, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...