Kiyoshi Nakajima 中島 潔

Manchuria, China / °1943 /
Nakajima Kiyoshi (中島 潔) is known mainly for his painting and illustrations in children's books. Early on in his career he became well known for an acclaimed series of woodblock prints, each depicting a young woman surrounded by wind with a pensive facial expression

Kiyoshi was born in Manchuria, N.E. China, in April of 1943. After the war, he moved with his parents to Saga (N.W. Kyûshû) and attended the Nishi Karatsu Prefectural High School.

At age 18, on the eve of his high school graduation, his mother died of cancer. His father remarried two months afterwards. In a state of shock, Nakajima Kiyoshi was unable to take his college entrance exam. Instead he sat on the beach, throwing bottles with letters to his deceased mother into the sea.

At age 21, he moved to Tokyo.. the same year the Olympic were in the city..and threw himself into the world of advertising while also working part-time as a cartoonist. Part of his meagre earnings went to his sister, who was still at high school and penniless.

At age 28, he moved to Paris, attended art school and gradually developed as a painter.

In 1982, he became famous for an exhibition of paintings which travelled throughout Japan. He was dubbed "wind painter", or "painter of the wind" (風の画家 - kaze no gaka) by the art critic Susumu Abe, an epithet that has clung to him ever since.

In 1987, in Bologna, he won the International Children's Book Exhibition graphics award. In 1998 he concluded a widely acclaimed series of paintings illustrating the Tale of Genji. In 2003 he returned to France to continue painting.
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fish outdoors sky wind blowing girl pensive waiting woman