*Name clarifications: As in English, Japanese proper names may be written and pronounced differently from what might be expected.
Therefore in either language it is not always possible to guess the spelling from the pronunciation (or vice versa).
According to the artist himself, the proper spelling of his art name when writing in Western style is "Rakusan" (with [s]).
When including his family name in similar circumstances, he placed it after his art name in Western fashion, "Rakusan Tsuchiya".
The written letter [s] is pronounced [z] in many English words, and this art name was and is pronounced with [z] in Japanese.
Therefore, today persons unfamiliar with the proper English spelling sometimes refer to the artist as "Rakuzan" (with
[z]). (This is apparently a new practice and there is no evidence that anyone who actually met or knew Rakusan ever used the [z] spelling.)
When writing in Japanese, if Rakusan included his family name,
he placed it before his art name according to normal Japanese usage, 土屋楽山 Tsuchiya Rakuzan.
Rakusan was born 土屋浩三 Tsuchiya Kouzou, and occasionally in his early studio years he used that name to emphasize his separate role as a printer/publisher.
Rakusan was apprenticed to the great Kyoto artist 竹内栖鳳 Takeuchi Seihou (1864-1942), usually called "Seiho".
Subsequently, Rakusan assumed the additional art name 篁子生 Koushisei
which he used by itself, in full or abbreviated form; as well as in combination with 楽山 Rakuzan.
[Please note that although they share the same family name and profession, Rakusan and the contemporary woodblock print artist,
土屋光逸 Tsuchiya Koitsu (1876-1946),
are not the same person and are in fact unrelated (see provided link).]
*Orthography: Romanized Japanese when here printed in italic type
serves as a phonetic transcription to indicate the actual pronunciation of written Japanese.
Some names and words of Japanese origin have been adopted into English with spellings which may no longer be phonetically accurate.
Written as English these forms appear here in normal type (Rakusan as opposed to 楽山 Rakuzan).
For typing convenience Rakusan's writings in the traditional Japanese scripts have been retranscribed here to read from left to right.
Some character substitutions have been made to conform to modern Japanese usage, notably where older kanji variants are not yet available in Unicode.
The Rakusan Archive Project: The Rakusan Archive Project is a non-profit organization whose goal
is to provide information about Rakusan Tsuchiya and his artworks to the public.
In order to accomplish this, a permanent study archive of materials is being assembled and endowed, and a major book is in preparation which will eventually accompany a comprehensive catalogue of Rakusan artworks.
At present Rakusan.net (and Rakusan.org, and Rakuzan.org) offer only a small selection of the material already assembled.
The next phase of website expansion began in 2011 and is presently underway.
The project is ongoing, and anyone with detailed questions regarding information not yet posted here, or with additional material to offer, is encouraged to contact us.
Rakusan's woodblock prints are presented here arranged by series, each on separate pages.
A linking index to these series pages appears at the gallery page. (The same link also appears with others at the top of each of the main pages.)
[In addition to works by Rakusan, selected woodblock print series by two other artists are also to be found there.
These include contemporary works by 千種掃雲 Chigusa Sou-un (1873-1944), called here "So-un";
and 西村蒲堂 Nishimura Hodou (life dates unknown), called here "Hodo".]
© 2005 Dr Michael J P Nichols (revisions © 2011)