HIRONAGA, TAKEHIKO BIOGRAPHY 1935—Born in Koriyama City
1959—Started sketching Minka (private houses of farmers)
1964-1969—Free lance graphic artist
1970—Started woodblock printing
1972—Released the Miharu/Aizu series
1977—Held print show at Nakago Department Store, Fukushima1979—Held second show at Nakago Department Store, Fukushima
1982—Released prints of Akita/Kakunodate Series 1983—Held
an exhibition of 100 sketches of Minka in Fukushima (Koriyama). Held anexhibition of 100 sketches of Minka in the Prefectural Gallery, Sendai
1984—Held a print show of snowy districts at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Yokohama1985—Held a print show of Minka at the Mitsukoshi Store, Yokohama
1986—Held the second print show of Minka showing changes in the farmer’s houses at the Mitsukoshi Department Store, Yokohama. Held an exhibition of 100 sketches of private homes of his hometown at Mitsukoshi, Ginza 1987—Held an exhibition of 100 sketches of street scenes in villages at the Koriyama Cultural Center
1988—Held a print exhibition showing the Charm of Minka at Mitsukoshi Department Store,Yokohama
1990—Held a second print exhibition of the Charm of Minka at Mitsukoshi Department Store, Yokohama. Held an exhibition showing the Charm of Minka at Nakago Department Store, Fukushima, 1991—Exhibition of sketches at Miharu City, Fukushima
1993—Discontinued woodblock printing so that he would have time to repair the straw-thatched roofs of Minka.
Mr. Hironaga was entirely self-taught. He began woodblock printing in 1970, using shina benia wood and water based colors. His paper is Ichizen hosho, a fine quality hand-made paper. In 1976, he saw an exhibition of Mr. Kiyoshi Saito’s work and he knew immediately that he had found the inspiration he was looking for. He arranged through a friend to meet Mr. Saito and since that time they have met on several occasions to review
his work. A friendship developed between the two—Hironaga has taken his inspiration from Saito’s work and Mr. Saito was proud and supportive of this young artist.
When Kappy Hendricks visited Mr Saito at his home in Kamakura, in the 1980’s, he apologized for the fact that so few prints were available for sale. He had heard from Mr. Hironaga that Kappy would be visiting Hironaga-san the next day. In the presence of Kappy Hendricks and her assistant, Saito proceeded to telephone Mr. Hironaga to remind him he needed to show her a lot of works. In that moment, the world learned which artist would be Mr.Saito’s prodigy. Mr. Hironaga refused to join any artists’ associations or mingle with other artists as he wanted to work freely without any restriction which might encumber his works.
His entire goal in life (up to 1993) was to preserve graphically, for his fellowmen, the old historical houses of Japan (Minka) which were and still are rapidly disappearing as Japan continues her technological development. For 32 years, Hironaga traveled throughout the four islands of Japan—Honshu, Shikoku, Hokkaido and Kyushu—sketching scenes of these houses. On such trips, he did 50-60 sketches and from this group he chose two or three from which prints were made. His choice of subject depended on his empathy with the scene—he had no interest in what might become a highly desirable print from the collector’s
point of view. Consequently, because of his purist attitude, all of his works are unique documents of one of Japan’s most interesting architectural forms.