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Tsuruoka Kakunen


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Tsuruoka Kakunen

Tsuruoka Kakunen was a Japanese artist who moved to California during the early 20th century. He was well-known for his Japanese-style paintings. Around the mid-1930's when interest in shin hanga was at its peak, Kakunen designed 4 woodblock prints and had them published in Japan. The publisher's seal has not been identified (by this writer), but the printing and carving are of very high quality. Three of Kakunen's designs are California landscapes; the other is an elegantly simple kacho-e of a parrot. Kakunen's prints are usually signed and numbered in English, probably indicating that they were intended for American collectors.

During World War II, Kakunen, along with thousands of other Japanese-Americans, was interned by the US government. He was incarcerated at the Poston, Arizona camp where he painted haunting images of the surrounding desert. Sometime after this experience, he and his family moved to New York City and started an art and antiques business.

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