Yurakucho, Noboru Sawai, woodblock print, 1969-70

Noboru Sawai, born in Takamatsu, Japan in 1931, is a contemporary Japanese woodblock print artist as well as an emeritus professor of University of Calgary, Canada. He came to the United States, and then in 1966 he received a Bachelor of Arts at Augsburg College, Minneapolis. Four years later Noboru Sawai went back to Tokyo, wherehe studied under Toshi Yoshida, second generation of the Yoshida family working with the woodblock medium, and a highly respected printmaking artist in Japan.

This print, entitled Yurakucho, was completed between 1969 and 1970. Yurakucho is a subway station that lies in the northeast part of Ginza, which is a major shopping district in Tokyo. Under the influence of Western art, Noboru uses a contemporary and rather abstract style to depict Yurakucho station and its surroundings with the emphasis on a huge billboard. The simplified version of the train track, the silhouette of the trees, and the geometric patterns of the background contrast the busy lines with the bright color of the nude depicted on the billboard.

Kate Yu and Alex Suginaka

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Kate Yu / / Alex Suginaka