Kenji Yoshida

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Kenji Yoshida
原語名 吉田堅治
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国籍 Japan
出身校 Osaka Second Normal School (current Department of Education, Osaka Kyoiku University)
著名な実績 Painter, Artist

Kenji Yoshida (吉田堅治 May 24, 1924 – February 24, 2009) was a Japanese painter and artist. He was born in Ikeda, Osaka. After having taught at elementary schools in Osaka and Tokyo, in 1964 at the age of forty, Yoshida quit the teaching profession to go to Paris, France; and made many paintings on the theme of La Vie or life.[1][2]


He was born in Ikeda, Osaka, Japan, 1924. After graduating ahead of schedule from former Osaka Second Normal School (current Osaka Kyoiku University) in 1944, Kenji Yoshida trained as a Kamikaze pilot at Tsuchiura Naval Aviation of the Imperial Navy. However, before he was ordered to fly a Kamikaze mission, World War II ended. After the war, he became a teacher at Gofuku Municipal Elementary School, Ikeda, Osaka. Then in 1951, he moved to Tokyo to become an art teacher at Iriarai Second Municipal Elementary School, Ota, Tokyo. In 1964, at the age of forty, Yoshida quit the teaching profession to go to Paris, France, and entered Atelier17(current Atelier Contrepoint), a workshop for printmaking, presided over by Stanley William Hayter (1901-1988), an English painter and printmaker. [3]

In 1966, Yoshida joined Atelier du Nord (Paris), the main members of which were the artists from Scandinavian countries, and there he received a scholarship from the Norwegian government.[4] Then in 1967, he begun to learn sculpture from Apel·les Fenosa(1899-1988), a Spanish sculptor, and would keep friendship until Fenosa’s death in 1988.[5] In 1973, Yoshida married Hiroko Uehara (1920-1986) from Tokyo.

Later in 1990, Yoshida stayed in Mexico for three months, and made a series of works entitled Maya. In 2009, he returned home in Tokyo because of illness, and died there at the age of 84. Kenji Yoshida now sleeps with his wife, Hiroko, in the grave in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris. [4]

Chronological Record[編集]

  • 1924 Born in Ikeda, Osaka, Japan
  • 1944 Graduated ahead of schedule from former Osaka Second Normal School (current Osaka Kyoiku University). Trained as a Kamikaze pilot at Naval Aviation of Imperial Navy at Tuchiura near Tokyo
  • 1946 Became a teacher of Gofuku Municipal Elementary School, Ikeda, Osaka
  • 1951 Moved to Tokyo to become a teacher of art at Iriarai Second Municipal Elementary School, Ota, Tokyo
  • 1964 Resigned as a school teacher at the age of forty, and went to Paris to paint. Upon arriving at Paris, entered Atelier 17 of Stanley William Hayter[4]
  • 1966 Joined the formation of Atelier Du Nord (Brugge, The Netherlands), and granted an artist’s benefit from Norwegian government
  • 1967 Learned sculpture from Spanish sculptor,Apel·les Fenosa
  • 1968 Stayed for two months in Shamir, an IsraeliKibbutz, and visited all over Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan
  • 1972 Obtained French government’s permission to move into the artists' apartment inMontparnasse, Paris[6]
  • 1973 Got married to Hiroko Uehara from Tokyo
  • 1982 Visited Greece
  • 1983 Returned home to Tokyo for the first time in 20 years, and stayed there for three months, visiting many places in Japan
  • 1986 Yoshida’s wife, Hiroko died at the age of 66
  • 1987 Visited Egypt
  • 1989 Visited the United States. Met José Férez Kuri who would be a lifelong private agent and curator for Yoshida
  • 1990 Stayed in Cuba and Mexico for three months, and produced a series of works entitled Maya
  • 2009 Returned home to Japan because of illness, and died in Tokyo
  • 2010 NHK’s TV documentary program, "Life(inochi)~Yoshida Kenji, a proudly independent painter" was broadcast on the eve of August 9, commemorating the end of World War II in 1945[7]

Main solo exhibitions[編集]

  • 1957 "Yoshida Kenji Exhibition" Muramatsu Art Gallery, Japan
  • 1964 "Yoshida Kenji Exhibition" Takegawa Gallery, Japan
  • 1968 "Print Exhibition of Kenji Yoshida" Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, Haifa, Israel[5]
  • 1989 "Life" October Gallery, London
  • 1991 "Infinite Light" October Gallery, London
  • 1993 "La Vie" British Museum, London[8]
  • 1997 "Yoshida Kenji EL ANTIGUO JAPON Y LO MAYA" Mexican Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City
  • 1998 "Yoshida Kenji EL ANTIGUO JAPON Y LO MAYA" Merida Yucatan Museum of Contemporary Art, Mexico[5]
  • 2000 "LA VIE THE ACT OF LIVING" Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin
  • 2001 "In the middle of a trip" Shinjuku Park Tower, Tokyo
  • 2002 "Unexpected Encounters" Galerie Prisma, Bolzano
  • 2002 "LA VIE THE ACT OF LIVING" Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, England
  • 2003 "LA VIE THE ACT OF LIVING" Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England
  • 2003 "life force" October Gallery, London
  • 2006 "La Vie et la Paix de Yoshida Kenji" Blois Castle, France
  • 2007 "INOCHI TO HEIWA - LIFE AND PEACE" October Gallery, London
  • 2008 "VIE ET PAIX" FRANCE, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
  • 2010 "A Celebration of Life" October Gallery, London


  1. Charles Darwent "Kenji Yoshida: Artist's work was formed by his wartime experiences" "The Independent" March 9, 2009 (Obituary of Kenji Yoshida)[1]
  2. " Kenji Yoshida's Solo Exhibition - Life -" Yomiuri Shimbun "December 13, 2003
  3. Atelier 17 | Contemporary Art Dictionary ver.2.0[2] - Artscape
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 [3]Lawrence Smith "Kenji Yoshida" "The Guardian" March 16, 2009 (Obituary of Kenji Yoshida)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 [4]"Kenji Yoshida" "October Gallery" Brochure for his exhibition at the Gallery in 2010
  6. Toshiro Sakaue "Booklet – Painter of Soul, Painter of Light, Yoshida Kenji" 2010, page 24-27
  7. NHK Chronicle[5]
  8. http://"Listen%20in%20Season"%20"Weekly%20Asahi"%20November%2023,%202001%20issue "Listen in Season" "Weekly Asahi" November 23, 2001 issue

Further readings[編集]

  • Japanese weekly magazine’s article by Naoko Abe, "Ardent wishes of an extraordinary Japanese painter, Kenji Yoshida who decorated the Chapel of Canterbury Cathedral in the UK" Sunday Mainichi", November 9, 2003

External links[編集]

This article "Kenji Yoshida" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Kenji Yoshida.