Goyo Biography

Hashiguchi Goyo(1880-1921) Goyo was born of a Samurai family in Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan's southernmost large island, He studied Japanese painting briefly under Hashimoto Gaho (1835-1908), then, in 1900, entered the Department of Western Painting at the Tokyo Art School. He graduated five years later at the head of his class, Soon he acquired a considerable reputation as a painter poster designer and designer and illustrator of books by such well-known authors as Natsume Soseki and Nagai Kafu. He also developed an interest in ukiyo-e which grew to the point where he began to spend an increasing amount of time studying older prints and eventually became a recognized authority on the subject. Goyo seems to have been dissatisfied with his first woodcut, which was published by Watanabe in 1915. At any rate, he never again worked with Watanabe, and three years passed before he made his next print. When he resumed printmaking in 1918, he acted as his own publisher supervising the block carvers and printers himself.  
Goyo's fascination with ukiyo-e, and particularly with the work of Utamaro (1753-1806), which can be seen in all of his prints.  The subject matter itself— lovely women absorbed in grooming themselves — fits squarely within the ukiyo-e tradition; and the mica backgrounds, the close-up focus, and the sensuous play of the hair are all elements found in Utamaro's classic bust portraits of the mid-1790s. There are differences, however. One of the most important of these is that Goyo's prints were based on pencil drawings made from the model with a concern for three-dimensional realization that was totally alien to earlier Japanese tradition. Though the drawings lose some of their three-dimensional quality when translated into woodblock, enough remains to set them clearly apart from anything done earlier.  
Goyo was constantly hampered by illness during the last few years of his life, and his output was accordingly quite limited. He was only forty when he died in 1921, and he left many prints only partially finished. Members of his family have since run prints from some of the completed blocks, but by and large, these do not have the quality of the prints brought out during his lifetime.  Ref: Jenkins, Donald,  "Images of a Changing world, Japanese Prints of the Twentieth Century" Portland Art Museum 1983-84 Exhibition catalog.  
Born in Kagoshima, Family name was Kiyoshi. Graduated as the best student from the Western painting department of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1905. Illustrated the magazine Hototogisu during school and Natsume Soseki asked him to design the cover of his novel, Wagahai wa neko de aru ('I am a cat'). Won the first prize in the poster design contest for the Mitsukoshi department store in 1911. In 1916-17 he supervised the reproductions in the twelve volume ukiyo-e fuzoku Yamato nishiki-e ('Yamato [Japan] brocade [polychrome] prints'). His first print, 'Woman at the bath' was published by Watanabe Shozaburo in 1915. He switched over self-publishing under his knowledge. After that he decided to publish the prints himself and produced thirteen prints under his supervison. Following his death his nephew Yasuo published seven new designs with the blocks that he had inherited from his uncle.  
Source: Amy Riegle Newland, The Female Image, Hotei Publishing 2000