Amita Co. artists: Minai, Torahiko Kanamori, Takeshi

Katsura, Mitsuharu [桂光春] (1871 ~ 1962)

Katsura Mitsuharu

Katsura Mitsuharu was born on September 3, 1871, in Ayase village (綾瀨村, today Horikiri), Katsushika, Tokyo, under the name of Yonejiro (米次郎). He was the second son of Katsura Nobuyuki (桂信行), a former shogunate retainer and a prefecture council member.
In November 1882, at the age of 11, Yonejiro finished elementary school and began to study metal engraving under Toyokawa Mitsunaga II (豊川光長, 1851~1923). Pupils at the time commonly took pseudonyms that were composed out of their teachers' kanjis. The kanji 光 (mitsu) Yonejiro took from his teacher's name (光長, Mitsunaga), while 春 ("haru") was taken from the teacher's wife name (オハル, Oharu), making together 光春 (Mitsuharu). In 1894 in collaboration with his teacher Mitsuharu produced gifts from the city of Tokyo for the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Emperor Meiji. A year after, in 1895, he exhibited his works at the Tokyo Chokokai Exhibition (東京彫工会展).
In 1897, after fifteen years of training Katsura Mitsuharu became independent and opened his own workshop. In April 1908 he had the honour of demonstrating his carving skills in front of Emperor's wife, Empress Shōken (昭憲皇太后), and in July did the same in front of three of Emperor's daughters: Princess Kane (周宮), Princess Fumi (富美宮) and Princess Yasu (泰宮).
In 1910 Katsura Mitsuharu produced a gold-inlaid picture of the Hōō (鳳凰) on a sterling silver bowl presented to the Imperial family at the time of the coronation of the British king. By the 1914 he was a juror and chief inspector of the Japan Art Association (日本美術協会), Tokyo Painters Association (東京牌工会) and Japan Metalworkers Association (日本金工協会).

An engraved and inlaid shibuichi fan-shaped panel by Mitsuharu showing the ayu sweetfish.

In 1925, at the request of the government, he exhibited his carved hanging plaques "Genroku dance" (元禄踊の図) and "Yugi carp" (游鯉の図) at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts held in Paris. In 1929 he became a member of the Imperial Fine Arts Academy (帝国美術院, today Japan Art Academy).
In 1930 Mitsuharu exhibited a decorative plate at the Liege International Industrial Exposition in Belgium, receiving the Grand Prize. In 1933 he exhibited a silver jewelry box at the Chicago World's Fair, being awarded as well.
In February 1934 at the order of the Imperial Household Mitsuharu carved four pairs of silver vases to be presented to Puyi, the emperor of Manchukuo, during his visit of the Imperial House. Eight months later, in November 1934, Mitsuharu created okimono of a Dragon King, a Chinese water and weather god, to be presented by the Iwasaki family to the Emperor Puyi. In 1935, at the request of Kinya Nagao (長尾欣彌), the president of Wakamoto Pharmaceuticals, Mitsuharu engraved a hyogo gusari tachi (兵庫鎖太刀, a tachi sword worn by high-ranking samurai). The sword was presented by Nagao to Adolf Hitler during his trip to Europe. In 1936 Mitsuharu produced a shibuichi flower vase, "朧銀花瓶渓山幽煙の図", commissioned by Dutch residents of Japan to congratulate Princess Juliana of the Netherlands on her engagement with Prince Bernhard.

Silver and gold chrysanthemum-shaped obidome.

Mitsuharu and his wife Fumiko (ふみ子) had five children: sons Yoshimitsu (吉光), Nobuharu (信治) and Susumu (進), and daughters Mitsu (みつ) and Koma (こま).
Many of the Mitsuharu's metal works are today in the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
Katsura Mitsuharu died of old age on August 31, 1962, at his home in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo.

Addresses and locations
Examples (from the web)