Hodaka Yoshida Biography
Printmaker Hodaka Yoshida was born in Tokyo, Japan, on September 3, 1926, into the noted Yoshida family of artists. Father Hiroshi and mother Fujio were pioneers of embracing Western style in pre-war Japan, building a major collector clientele in America and England in the 1920s and ’30s. Before the Second World War, their children were encouraged to carry on this tradition; Toshi and Hodaka studied oil painting and woodcut at Daichii High School, considered the best in Japan at the time.
Once the war ended, the future of the Yoshida family studio was uncertain, having lost its largest clientele after the Pearl Harbor attack and Japan’s ensuing collaboration with Axis forces. It was expected that Hodaka, being the second eldest son, would set aside his pursuit of art and find an occupation that would bring him financial stability. At his father’s request, he began studying biology at age nineteen.
It wasn’t long, however, for Yoshida to discover decide that his true path lay alongside his family’s in art. Defying his parents’ wishes, he soon left school to pursue woodblock and painting studies, participating in his first exhibition in 1948 at the Second Nihon Independent Exhibition. Like his parents before him, he was heavily influenced by Western art – though in his case, it was the rising stars of Abstraction and Surrealism that caught his attention, until then nearly unheard of in Japan. His work was well received and he began exhibiting frequently throughout Japan along with his wife, artist Chizuko Inoue (Yoshida). By the mid 1950s, he was showing abroad in Mexico and the United States. In 1952 he became a member