Kawanishi Hide (1894-1965) was born in Kobe as the son of an affluent family of merchants and ship-owners with a long tradition in commerce. His family by chance owned a privately run post office of which he took charge. When it was integrated into Japan's National Postal Service, Kawanishi Hide became a postal worker with a salary paid by the Japanese government.
Hide wanted to become an artist from childhood on. His father was opposed of course and wanted him to join the family's trade business. But his son went his own way. And like Azechi Umetaro, Kawanishi took part in a painting course by correspondence from Tokyo. Like many sosaku hanga artists, he was more or less self-taught. Kawanishi had a liking for foreign art and none at all for classical ukiyo-e. He did not like the black outlines that are so characteristic for classical Japanese woodblock prints. In his own works he never used them. He thought that prints without outlines had more vitality.
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