Komura Settai Exhibition — Faces of Old Edo
2 October (Fri) to 20 December (Sun), 2009
Komura Settai (1887–1940) was a Japanese style painter known for establishing his own world in realms like book illustration, bookbinding and cover design, and performing arts.
Komura Settai (Taisuke) was born in Kawagoe, Saitama prefecture and attended Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts), where he studied under Shimomura Kanzan. After graduating he worked at the studio producing the art journal Kokka making copies of older paintings and pictures. From 1918 to 1923 he was a member of the nascent Shiseido design department, in charge of Japanese-style designs, and was also one of those involved in creating the “Shiseido typeface” still in use today.
Komura was well versed in Japanese-style painting, and in 1914 was lauded for his cover design for Izumi Kyoka's novel Nihonbashi. From 1933 he began illustrating novels serialized in the Tokyo Asahi Newspaper, such as the Osen series by Kunieda Kanji, solidifying his reputation in the field.
This exhibition included four original illustrations from Osen, works that had been well known but the whereabouts of which had long remained unclear. These joined nearly seventy others, including stage device designs, woodblock prints, book covers, and various works produced while on the Shiseido payroll, all introducing the world of Komura Settai and the way his lyrical brush captured so well the beauty of the manners, customs, and faces of old Edo.