December 1937
In Defense of World Democracy: An Exhibition Dedicated to the People of Spain

Fig. 5. The Gacho-Kai group photo at the exhibition site.
In the center of the front row is Furudo Masado, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi is on the right side of the front row, facing sideways. Eitaro Ishigaki is on the far left in the back row, Kyohei Inukai is second from the left in the second row, and Toshi Shimizu is fourth from the left in the back row.
Fig. 6. Eitaro Ishigaki in his studio
“Young Japanese Artists Finds Strange Contrasts in American Men and Women”( Evening Telegram, Nov.4, 1922)
Fig. 7. Furuta Togado, "Home”
This painting depicts a family of five gathered around a table with a brown room in the background. The hexagonal wall, the electric light in the center of the room, and the family around the table may pray before the meal. The painting evokes a sense of warmth and tenderness.
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The artists of the New York Japanese Art Association ranged from Western paintings to applied arts. This was probably due to the fact that many of the Japanese artists at the time were supported by Japanese companies in the area. Later, the New York Japanese Art Association was consolidated into the newly formed Japanese Painting Association, which was composed mainly of painters and sculptors. In 1921, the Japanese Painting Society was renamed the Gabokukai.

The patrons of the Gaboku-kai included Jishu Ennosuke (manager of Morimura Brothers), Shirae Shinzo (deputy manager of Yamanaka Shokai New York Branch), Kodama Kashiro (manager of Taiyo Boeki Kaisha New York Branch), Tsutsumi Hikokazu (Takata Shokai Cordomoiku Branch), Kumazaki Kyo (consul general), Tajima higeji (deputy manager of Mitsui & Co. Cordomoiku Branch), Tamura Yuzo (manager of South Manchurian Railway Office), Minami Harunosuke (Manager of Kobe Suzuki Shoten’s New York branch), Takao Takada (Manager of Takada Iwai Shokai’s New York branch), and Iwao Nishi (Commercial Officer) are also mentioned. Therefore, this association, like the Japanese Art Association of New York, was supported by Japanese companies in the area.

The Gaboku-kai held an exhibition at the Civic Club from November 1 to 21, 1922. The exhibition included works by Kunie Ando, Makoto Hara, Shotaro Inaba, Eitaro Ishigaki, T.K. Gado, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ryokichi Miki, Shimizu Toshi, Tera Tetsuen, Usui Bumpei, Watanabe Torajiro, Hiramoto Masaji, and Kawamura Gozo. The exhibition featured 54 paintings and sculptures.

Eitaro Ishigaki exhibited four works at this exhibition: “Triumph of Death,” “Mysterious Beach,” “Hour of Twilight,” and “Fruits,” but the details of these works are unknown because they have not been confirmed to exist.

The “Evening Telegram” shows Eitaro Ishigaki working in his studio and a work that is believed to be “Fruits,” which was included in this exhibition. Eitaro Ishigaki told the Telegram, “My picture, “The Triumph of Death, which is on exhibition now at the Civic Club, is one of my favorites,” he explained. “Some friends ask me how I, who seem so cheerful, could have chosen such a gloomy subject. I had just finished D’Annunzio’s novel, and I was so filled with it that I immediately painted this picture. As it turned out, however, I do not feel that it expresses at all the same spirit as found in D’Annunzio. “It shows a dead woman lying on the seashore and a man weeping over her.”

Eitaro Ishigaki mentioned on New York Shimpo that “The Triumph of Death” was written five or six years ago when he was inspired by Wilde’s decadent philosophy and infected by Baudelaire’s Satanism, so it is a distant relative of mine now that he has undergone a radical change of thought since then. (Eitaro Ishigaki, “Gyokuseki douka,” New York Shimpo, November 15, 1922) Based on this, it is thought that “Triumph of Death” was inspired by the fin-de-siècle art to which Eitaro Ishigaki was devoted in the 1910s.

The “The Japan-America Jiho” wrote, “Mr. Hiramoto’s ‘Rodin,’ ‘Marshal Djohuru,’ and ‘Marshal Forsyth’ are well executed in terms of the character and appearance of these great masters, and the compositional technique of ‘Rodin’ is simple, powerful, and elegant. “Marshal Joffre” is a fine work as a first work, with charm and beauty coming through. “Marshal Forsyth” is a sculpture of great dignity and elegance.
(Nichibei Jiho, April 1, 1922, “Independent Art Exhibition: A Short Review of Works by Masado, Hiramoto, Watanabe, and Shimizu.)

Twelve painters and two sculptors belonging to the Japanese Artist’s Society of this City are giving an exhibition of fifty paintings, sketches, and sculptures in the Civic Club, 14 West Twelfth St., through November 21. All of these artists are devotees of Western art, with only one painting and one sculpture being concerned with Oriental life. Modernism attracts painters, as may be instanced in the case of Inaba Shotaro’s “Virgin,” although his sketch of a little girl with very pink cheeks harks back to Victorian times. T.K. Gado’s “Traffic” is Cubistic to a degree, but his “Family” and “Chicken House” have a touch of naïve humor that is amusing. Misaki Michio’s “Still Life” is a photographically realistic study of apples in a glass dish placed against a Modernistic background, his extremely attractive color.
(“Japanese Artist’s Show”, American Art News, 1922 Nov. 8.)

The Nichibei Jiho (Japan America Times) wrote, “I was pleased to see the fresh vitality of the exhibitors, who fully demonstrated their individuality and ambitions over the years, as well as their efforts to improve their tastes. The paintings were well arranged, and I thought it was one of the best art exhibitions in recent years” (Tangen Kisei, “Yabu ni la mimi no ki, Gacho-Kai,” Nichibei Jiho, November 18, 1922).

The Gacho-Kai exhibition featured Western paintings influenced by realistic techniques and modernism, as opposed to the works that pandered to Oriental tastes for commercial purposes that were criticized during the Japan Art Association’s exhibitions in the 1910s. As such, the exhibition was intended to showcase the work of Japanese who had studied art in the region and to introduce the Japanese and American communities to how they had mastered the
techniques of Western painting.