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Born near Hamamatsu City (Shizuoka Prefecture) with the name "Sahei" (not "Koichi"), Koitsu moved to Tokyo at the age of 15. He had planned to apprentice with Matsuzaki, a carver for the artist Kobayashi Kiyochika, but instead, he became Kiyochika's apprentice and moved into his home to study art and print design. It is through Kiyochika that Koitsu gained his trademark skill in the subtle use of light and shadow for his landscape prints. Koitsu lived with Kiyochika for 19 years and was considered more a member of Kiyochika's family than an apprentice. He worked and studied with Kiyochika until around Meiji 33 (1900). In Taisho 11 (1922) he moved to his wife's place of birth in Chigasaki City and lived there until his death.
Although Koitsu first designed woodblock prints during the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895), and later worked as a lithographer (around 1898 to 1905), he only became an internationally-renown artist after his chance-meeting with Watanabe Shozaburo, the founder of the Shin-Hanga print movement, at an exhibition of Kiyochika's works in 1931 that marked the anniversary of Kiyochika's death. In 1932 he started to produce landscape prints in the shin hanga style for Watanabe, the first titled Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gion, and he went on to design a total of 10 prints for Watanabe. He later designed prints for various publishers including Doi Sadaichi (known incorrectly in the West as Doi Teiichi), Kawaguchi, the Kyoto publisher Baba Nobuhiko, the publisher Tanaka Shobido, and the publisher Takemura.
Around the same time that Tsuchiya Koitsu began his shin hanga career, another artist by the name of Ishiwata Koitsu was also pursuing a career as a shin-hanga landscape artist. Despite sharing the same given name "Koitsu", the 2 men were not related. Their works are sometimes confused since both artists signed their works "Koitsu". However, the styles of their woodblock prints are quite distinctive, as are their seals.http://www.koitsu.com/DB/koitsu.asp undefined