Kajita Hanko

Japanese , 1870 - 1919

Kajita Hanko was born in Tokya in 1870 under the given name of Kajita Jojiro. At the age of eleven he was apprenticed to the Shijo painter, Nabeta Gyokuei. He took the artist name Hanko in 1890. He made his living primarily from illustrations, which he produced for serial novels of the soap opera kind.

Hanko made most of the illustrations for “The Demon of Gold”, a popular novel series published by the Tokyo newspaper “Yomiuri Shinbun”. These illustrations known as “kuchi-e” were produced like traditional woodblock prints and were often published in deluxe editions. They were sometimes enriched with techniques such as mica or embossing. Kuchi-e were usually folded once or twice in the middle in order to fit as insertions into the novels.

Hanko worked at the art school of Takoaka City in Toyama Prefecture in 1898. He had established his own private school in Tokyo just before the turn of the century. He trained such artists as Togyo Okumara, Maeda Seison and Kokei Kobayashi. Hanko Kajita died of tuberculosis at the age of 47.

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