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Reference » Ukiyo-e »  Artists Biographies

Shotei (Hiroaki) Takahashi 1871-1945

Painter, printmaker born in Tokyo as Takahashi Katsutaro. His early education is linked to his uncle Matsumoto Fuko who trained him in traditional Japanese painting. 

In his thirties Takahashi joined Watanabe Shozaburo, a publisher with a very good business sense. Soon Watanabe gathered an extraordinary team of artists and exported their works to Europe and Northern America. During that time Takahashi used the art name Shotei. This period of prosperity was interrupted in 1923 by the Great Kanto earthquake, which nearly whipped Tokyo from the face of the earth. Fires it brought claimed 140,000 victims. All  500 prints created by Takahashi vanished with smoke together with Watanabe's print shop. After the tragedy Takahashi designed another 250 prints with Watanabe, most of which were landscapes in Shin Hanga style, using the name Hiroaki or Komei. He also cooperated with other publishers, such as Fusui Gabo and Shobido Tanaka, who were less imposing than Watanabe.

In the summer of 1945 master Takahashi visited his daughter in Hiroshima. He died when the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city.