Tsuchiya Koitsu

2019 eBay Auction of late 1930's purchased Tsuchiya Koitsu prints

What follows is futher strong evidence that Doi Sadaichi never used the Doi Hangaten offset seal in the pre-war period. In September of 2019, eBay listed an auction of Japanese art from a New England (USA) estate. Here is an overview of the artwork given by the seller:

This week we are listing a wonderful collection of Japanese prints and works of art all from a single New England estate. Based on all the paperwork found with the collection it appears that this family member actively collected in the 1930's as there were numerous auction catalogs and publications that period found with the collection. Another great aspect of the collection is that almost all were kept loose individually in paper folders. All items listed today will be from this single owner collection with no additions ...

Here is a PDF file of the complete auction listing. The listings consisted of no less than 14 first edition scenes by Tsuchiya Koitsu:

  1. Sarusawa Pond (1934)
  2. Shinagawa Coast (1935)
  3. Morning Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi (1936 October)
  4. Benkei Bridge (1933)
  5. Lake Shoji (1934)
  6. Miyajima in Rain (1936)
  7. Zojoji Temple (1933)
  8. Nara Horyuji (1937, June)
  9. Tea House (Yotsuya) (1935)
  10. Lake Sai (1938, May)
  11. Nezu Shrine (1934)
  12. Lake Kawaguchi (1933)
  13. Lake Yamanaka (1939, February)
  14. Lake Motosu (1934)
Please note that all 14 prints contain the Doi Sadaichi seal; there are no prints containing a Doi Hangaten seal, nor any prints containg a Harada carver seal. Please also note that the latest print dating is very late, being February of 1939, when wartime difficulties meant that there would be little reason to hire Harada to increase print production, given that sales would have been limited.

Given that not a single print contains a Doi Hangaten offset seal, nor even a Doi Hangaten in-line seal, I don't think there can be much stronger evidence that the Doi Hangaten seal was not used pre-war. Nor do any of the carver seals contain the name of Harada. If, as it has been argued for decades, the Doi Hangaten seal had been used pre-war, and Harada had worked for Doi pre-war, on the balance of probabilities we would expect at least one of these 14 scenes to contain this seal. The above evidence strongly supports the statements given by the three people close to the publisher and the carver Harada (Harada's daughter, Harada's master's daughter, and Doi Sadaichi's daughter-in-law), namely that Harada did not work for Doi in the pre-war period (Harada joined Doi after the war), and that the Doi Hangaten seal was not used in the pre-war period. This is also the understanding of my co-researcher Tosh Doi and myself, based on other evidence.

Even from a statistical standpoint, this aucion data provides futher strong evidence against the hypothesis that Doi Hangaten seals were used pre-war. If prints containing the Doi Hangaten seal had existed at this time, what are the chances that one would purchase as many as 14 prints, yet not one of those prints contain the Doi Hangaten seal? It's not a statistical impossibility, but it is close.

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