Before the war Tatsumi Shimura had worked for a woman's magazine. After the war he designed several prints of beautiful women. The women of his prints look very fashionable, trendy, beautiful and cute - with big eyelashes and a sensual lipstick mouth.
Tatsumi was born in Takasaki in Gunma prefecture under the given name of Sentaro. In the 1920s he studied with Yamakawa Saiho and his son, Yamakawa Shuho.
Like many Japanese artists in the first half of the twentieth century, Shimura Tatsumi made his living as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines. One of the magazines he worked for, was Fujokai - Women's World.
Parallel to his job as an illustrator he continued to work as a painter - specializing in bijin-ga, the genre of the depiction of beautiful women. Occasionally he made a few prints before the war. In 1932 he contributed a print to the series Dai Tokyo hyakkei - One Hundred Views of Great Tokyo.
After World War II, Shimura designed Bijin prints that were published by Kato Junzo. His best known designs are a series of five prints published in 1953. It was titled Gendai bijin fuzoku gotai - Five Figures of Modern Beauties. This print series was published as a limited edition in copies of 200.
Shimura became director and chairman of the Union of Artists and Publications - Shuppan Bijutsuka Renmei.
Shimura Tatsumi was mainly a traditional Japanese painter and only occasionally a printmaker. Therefore his prints are not too often to be found.
Somehow a pity that this artist did not create more bijin prints during his life. The designs have an individual style and are something special - and beautiful.
Author: Dieter Wanczura