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Rakusan Tsuchiya
Japanese Painter, Woodblock Print Artist, and Printer
1896 - 1976

Other names: 土屋浩三 Tsuchiya Kouzou, 土屋楽山 Tsuchiya Rakuzan, 土屋篁子 Tsuchiya Koushi, 楽山篁子生 Rakuzan Koushisei, 篁子生 Koushisei, 篁子 Koushi, 楽山 Rakuzan, Rakusan *

*Name clarifications: As with English proper names, Japanese names may be written and pronounced differently from what might be expected. Therefore in either language it is not always possible to guess the spelling from the pronunciation (or vice versa). According to the artist himself, the proper spelling of his art name when writing in Western style is "Rakusan" (with [s]). When including his family name in similar circumstances, he placed it after his art name in Western fashion, "Rakusan Tsuchiya".

The written letter [s] is pronounced [z] in many English words, and Rakusan's principal art name was and is pronounced with [z] in Japanese. Therefore, today persons unfamiliar with the proper Western spelling sometimes refer to the artist as "Rakuzan" (with [z]). (This is apparently a new practice and there is no evidence that anyone who actually met or knew Rakusan ever used the [z] spelling.) When writing in Japanese, if Rakusan included his family name, he placed it before his art name according to normal Japanese usage, 土屋楽山 Tsuchiya Rakuzan.

Rakusan was born 土屋浩三 Tsuchiya Kouzou, and during his early studio years he used that name in his role as a printer/publisher or producer/distributor. The other name variations are all art names (號 gou), used by themselves or in combinations as signatures and seals on artworks and on colophons.

Rakusan was apprenticed to the great Kyoto artist 竹内栖鳳 Takeuchi Seihou (1864-1942), usually called "Seiho". Rakusan artworks show many parallels to works by his master as well as to those of other contemporary Seiho students.

[Please note that although they share the same family name and profession, Rakusan and the contemporary woodblock print artist, 土屋光逸 Tsuchiya Koitsu (1876-1946), are not the same person and are in fact unrelated (see provided link).]

*Orthography: Romanized Japanese when here printed in italic type serves as a phonetic transcription to indicate the actual pronunciation of written Japanese. Some names and words of Japanese origin have been adopted into English with spellings which may no longer be phonetically accurate. Written as English these forms appear here in normal type (for example, Rakusan as opposed to 楽山 Rakuzan).

For typing convenience Rakusan's writings in the traditional Japanese scripts have been retranscribed here to read from left to right. Because Rakusan used older kanji variants, modern transcriptions have been included where necessary to conform to modern Japanese usage.

The Rakusan Archive Project: The Rakusan Archive Project is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide information to the public about Rakusan Tsuchiya and his artworks. In order to accomplish this, a permanent study archive of materials is being assembled and endowed, and a major book is in preparation which will eventually accompany a comprehensive catalogue of Rakusan artworks.

Currently, the Rakusan.net website (linked also from Rakusan.org, and Rakuzan.org) includes only a small selection of the material already assembled. The website offers reference information only, and none of the artworks are for sale.

The Rakusan Archive Project is ongoing, and anyone with detailed questions regarding information not yet posted here, or with additional material to offer, is encouraged to contact us. As new information is obtained, the existing entries are updated. Some detail expansions of particular sub-pages are still in progress, and several sections of the website remain under construction.

Rakusan's woodblock print designs are presented here arranged by series, each on separate pages. A linking index to these series pages appears at the gallery page. (The same link also appears with others at the top of each of the main pages.)

[In addition to works by Rakusan, selected woodblock print series by two other artists are also to be found there. These include contemporary works by 千種掃雲 Chigusa Sou-un (1873-1944), called here "So-un"; and 西村蒲堂 Nishimura Hodou (life dates unknown), called here "Hodo".]

© 2005 Dr Michael J P Nichols (revisions © 2011, 2013, 2015)