Kenzo Takekoshi ( 1888 - 1980)

Kenzo Takekoshi (1888-1981)
Japanese architect who went to study in London in 1913 after graduating from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He had a brief artistic career as explained below. He became a notable architect in Japan.

Article in The Adelaide Chronicle, Saturday, 8th January 1927, Page 43

In 1913 his Government sent him to Europe to study Western architecture, and for some time he resided in London, where he qualified for membership of the R.I.B.A. While in London, he learnt the art of etching under under Lund R.E. and made eleven etchings in copper. When these etchings were subsequently exhibited they created a furore in the artistic world of London. Reproductions of Takekoshi were featured in the ‘Studio,’ the ‘Queen,’ the ‘Field’ and other authorities, and the critiques on his work were laudatory in the extreme. This publicity proved his undoing as an etcher, as it reached his father in Japan, where the social code forbids a high-caste Japanese to be an artist. In Japan an artist is essentially and actually one of the people, and may have no social aspirations. Even the great Hiroshige, greatest of modern Japanese artists, and whose work is eagerly sought after by collectors, was all his life a social outcast in his own country. Consequently, when Takekoshi, senior read the flowing reports of his beloved son’s artistic triumphs in London, his consternation can be readily imagined. He immediately made representations to the Japanese Government, the result of which was that Kenzo Takekoshi was at once recalled to Tokyo, and there had to make his choice— give up his artistic aspirations and retain his caste, or alternatively continue as an artist, lose his caste, his succession in his father’s estates, and his hereafter, with his ancestors.’ The bonds of caste proved too strong for the artist, and Takekoshi “went off the map” in that capacity.

In his natural indignation at being so peremptorily recalled (and before he had had a chance to sell his prints) he gave his plates away to a lady who had been a good friend to him while in London. They were subsequently purchased at a high figure by the representative of a well known Australian firm, and are now being printed in limited editions* in this country.
*(note these would be unsigned etchings only)

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