Biography Azechi, Umetarô (1902 - 1999)
Umetarô Azechi was born in Futama village, Ehime Prefecture, the son of a small farmer. Driven by poverty he first worked as a merchant seaman and then he studied painting by correspondence at Kobayashi Manji before moving to Tokyo in 1920, where he became a newsboy. The 1923 earthquake forced him to return home, but he returned in 1925 and joined a government printing office, where he began to experiment with etching from lead plates. Like so many other aspiring woodblock artists he met Hiratsuka Un'ichi, who urged him to exhibit with the Nihon Sôsaku Hanga Kyôkai. Before WWII he developed his acquaintance with the leading Sôsaku Hanga artists of his day. He was largely self-taught as a printmaker, but received encouragement from Onchi Kôshirô and Maekawa Senpan.
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Before the war his prints were also strongly influenced by Hiratsuka Un'ichi; after the war he is mainly known for his highly individual prints of mountains and mountaineers.