What’s Amazing about Kozo Yokoi?
He Lived as He Wanted. He Painted as He Wanted.
Mysterious man who has long gray mustache lived in Nagano from 1945 to 1965.
He drew the portrait of family who he just met. Suddenly, he brought a painting to new barber. He gave his paintings to post man everyday. Post man could not open his drawer since the paintings were stucked inside.
This man is the artist, Kozo Yokoi.
He entered his painting to Nishina Art Contest in 1915 and won a prize. Suddenly, he made a huge success and stepped into art world.
In 1923, after the Great Kanto Earthquake, he entered Nishina Art Contest again with a big piece combined 11 paintings that he donated to elementary school in the disaster-struck city. However, it was refused. Finally, he started living free and painted as he wanted. Even though it was a beginning of the poverty, he started being able to see warm people.
He was known as Japanese version of “Rousseau”. He was the first person who started Société des Artistes Indépendants in Japan. He published many books and invented a lot of painting methods. He was especially into Pyrography in his later life and left several works.
He published an unforgettable and fun painting in kids magazine “Kodomo no tomo” in Taisho period. He also worked on illustration and design in “The Life of Gusukoh Budori” wrote by Kenji Miyazawa. It was a magnificent book as it was still handed down to the present.
After his death, he was being forgotten. He was later featured by Seiichi Horiuchi, a unique Art director in Showa period and other leading writers of juvenile literature. Koji Suzuki, a successful artist in latter time was also influenced by his works.
In 2015, Shinano Museum conducted a big exhibition of his works. Nerima Museum also held “The World of Kozo Yokoi” in 2017. He predictively said “People in coming ages could understand my work”. His works look still free and breathtakingly beautiful.
Wrote by Agapanthu