The scene shows a group of buildings with white colored rooftops. Two buildings rise up in the foreground on the right and left. The right building has a red side with vertical lines hashed into it. The left building has two white triangles on its roof. In the middle ground is a smaller building with a green-domed tower rising up the middle of the composition. A small red figure stands on the white ground to the right of this tower. The background shows the large white rooftop of another building, with small dark rooflines of buildings visible behind it.
This woodblock print shows a city scene of Boston in the snow.
A native of Sakamoto in Fukushima Prefecture, the artist here depicts his far northern hometown with the snow-covered imagery to present a view of traditional Japan in a innovative and modern way.
The artist was a member of the Creative Print (sôsaku hanga) movement, which played a strategic role in the transformation of American-Japanese relations during the Cold War. In the decades before and after the Second World War Americans were receiving conflicting messages about Japan, which was successively presented as an exotic land of geisha, an increasingly evil adversary of America and its culture, and finally as a much-needed ally against communism in Asia. Post-war, the people of the United States and Japan were encouraged by their governments to embrace one another as friends (although with America occupying Japan until the 1950s, this friendship was less than equal) and art was considered an attractive vehicle for promoting this political goal. Already popular among occupying forces, the work of Creative Print artists appealed to the larger American audience because it both resonated with nostalgic pre-war conceptions of Japan and was infused with a modern sensibility.
This modern presentation of traditional Japan is one that the versatile Saitô captured masterfully in his work. Famous places in Japan were one of the most popular subjects of Edo (1615–1868) and Meiji (1868–1912) period woodblock prints, and Creative Print artists strove to represent them in innovative ways. This imagery of Japan is one that drew on the past yet was visually fresh.
This print is one of a series by the artist that evokes, in a highly abstract manner, famous Buddhist sculptures of Nara, the capital of Japan in the 8th century. The subject here is the slender, 8-armed figure of Ashura (in Sanskrit, Asura), dated to 734 and in the collection of Kôfukuji Temple in Nara. Ashura is a deity derived from Hindu beliefs, representing a class of powerful beings who were often in competition with the 'devas' or gods. In Buddhism, these spirits are adopted as protectors of the faith. The Ashura are not Buddhas, despite the title given the print by the artist.
This scene has two trees and some logs jutting vertically out of the ground in the foreground, with some buildings and a figure walking in the background. The tree on the left in the foreground has a split trunk, and we can see some roots. The four logs are spaced fairly evenly in the center of the foreground, and the second tree is on the right in the foreground and leans to the right. Some leaves can be seen on the trees at the top of the scene. The ground in the background is white, and the figure walks in front of the buildings in the center right of the scene. The main and tallest roofline of the buildings is in the center of the background.
This woodblock print shows a person walking in the city of Nara, Japan.
The composition has a wide path in the middle heading into the background, with buildings on eiher side and three telephone poles in the middle. The top of a tree can be seen over the buildings in the top left of the scene. The front center portion of the pathway has some darker horizontal marks, and a dark figure is on the pathway in the center right of the composition.
This woodblock print depicts a figure walking down a street in Nara, Japan.