Iri and Toshi Maruki
Iri Maruki (1901–1995)
On June 20, 1901, Iri Maruki was born in a small riverside farming village just upstream from the city of Hiroshima. During the prewar period, he belonged to a number of avant-garde artists groups, such as the Rekitei Art Association and the Bijutsu Bunka Association, and he earned a reputation for a unique style of suibokuga (ink wash painting) that incorporated influences from surrealist and abstract art. In 1941 he married the oil painter Toshiko Akamatsu. In 1945, the couple traveled to Hiroshima just days after the atomic bombing; they assisted surviving members of Iri’s family and were first-hand witnesses to the aftermath of the nuclear attack. Some years later, Iri and Toshi began collaborating on the “Hiroshima Panels,” completing 15 works in this series over the next 30 years. At the same time, Iri continued to paint large-scale suibokuga, many of which featured landscapes rendered in his signature style. Iri died peacefully on October 18, 1995 at the age of 94.
Toshi Maruki (1912–2000)
Toshi Maruki (née Toshiko Akamatsu) was born on February 11, 1912 in Chippubetsu, Hokkaido, to the family of the head priest of Zenshōji Temple. She studied oil painting at the Women’s Academy of Fine Arts (now Joshibi University of Art and Design), after which she spent time in both Russia and Micronesia. In 1941 she married the suibokuga artist Iri Maruki. After the war, she and Iri collaborated on a large number of socially engaged paintings, including the “Hiroshima Panels,” “The Rape of Nanking,” “Auschwitz,” “Minamata,” and “The Battle of Okinawa.” Toshi also earned acclaim as an author and illustrator of children’s books, including “Hiroshima no Pika” and “Tsutsuji no Musume” (about the power of longing and desire), which continue to be read widely. On January 13, 2000 she died peacefully at the age of 87.
- Iri is born in June in Imuro-mura, Asa-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture (now Asakita-ku, Hiroshima City).
- Toshi is born in February in Chippubetsu-mura, Uryu-gun, Hokkaido (now Chippubetsu Town), named Akamatsu Toshiko.
- Iri moves to Osaka to study design at the Seika Institute of Art.
- Iri goes to Tokyo to study with Tanaka Raisho at the Tennen School of Painting.
- Iri is selected for the first time for the 13th Hiroshima Prefectural Art Exhibition.
- Toshi moves to Tokyo to enroll at the Women’s Academy of Fine Arts (now Joshibi University of Art and Design).
- Toshi graduates from the academy and begins working as a substitute teacher at an elementary school in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture.
- Iri studies at Ochiai Rofu’s Meiro School of Art in Tokyo.
- Iri moves to Tokyo and becomes friends with Funada Gyokuju, Aimitsu, and other artists.
His work is selected for the Seiryu-sha exhibition for the first time.
Iri holds the 1st Geishu Art Association exhibition with Funada, Aimitsu, and others.
- Toshi accepts a post as tutor for he children of an official interpreter at the Japanese embassy in Moscow.
- Iri joins the Rekitei Art Association.
Toshi moves to the Atelier Village artist colony in Toshima-ku, Tokyo.
- In March, Toshi holds her first solo exhibition at the Kinokuniya Gallery in Ginza.
In September, her work is selected for the 26th Nika-kai Exhibition.
In October, a joint exhibition of Iri and Funada Gyokuju’s work is held at the Kinokuniya Gallery in Ginza; it is Iri’s first exhibition.
- From January to May, Toshi lives in Micronesia.
In March, Iri joins the Bijutsu Bunka Association.
In September, Iri and Toshi meet for the first time.
- In January, Toshi returns to Moscow as a tutor to the Japanese ambassador’s children. Around May, she comes back to Japan.
In July, Iri and Toshi marry and begin living together at the Atelier Village artist colony.
In December, the Pacific War breaks out.
- In August, atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Marukis stay in Hiroshima for a month in the aftermath of the atomic bomb. After returning to Tokyo, they join the Japanese Communist Party.
In September, World War II officially ends. The occupation army issues a press code to regulate the Japanese media.
- In April, the Marukis join in forming the Nihon Bijutsukai (Japan Art Society). Around this time, they hold drawing events at their studio.
- In May, the Marukis help form the Zen’ei Bijutsukai (Avant-garde Art Society).
Toshi joins the Joryu Gaka Kyokai (Women Painters Association) in June.
- In July, the Marukis move to Katase in Kanagawa Prefecture.
- In February, the Marukis show August 6 (later retitled Ghosts, the first of the Hiroshima Panels) in the 3rd Japan Independent Exhibition.
In March, the Marukis show Ghosts and Night at a Hiroshima Panels exhibition at the Maruzen Gallery in Nihonbashi.
In June, the Korean War breaks out.
In August, an exhibition marking the completion of the Marukis’ first three panels (Ghosts, Fire, and Water) is held at the Maruzen Gallery in Nihonbashi and the Mitsukoshi department store in Ginza. They also publish the picture book Pikadon.
In October, an exhibition of the three paintings is held at Goryu-so, a building near the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima. This marks the beginning of a travelling exhibition that takes the panels across Japan.
- The Marukis paint a second version of the first three panels.
In July, the Marukis exhibit Rainbow and Boys and Girls for the first time at the Comprehensive Atomic Bomb Exhibition in Kyoto.
- On April 28, the San Francisco Peace Treaty comes into force, ending the occupation. Earlier that month, the first catalogue of the Hiroshima Panels is published by Aoki Shoten.
In August, a feature article titled “The First Publication of Atomic Bomb Damage” appears in Asahi Graph magazine. Production of the film Gembaku no Zu (The Hiroshima Panels, directed by Imai Tadashi and Aoyama Michiharu) begins; the documentary is released the following year.
- In January, the Marukis are awarded the International Peace Prize by the World Peace Council.
In February, they exhibit Atomic Desert at the 6th Independent Exhibition.
In June, Toshi participates in the World Congress of Women in Copenhagen. An exhibition of the Hiroshima Panels begins traveling internationally.
- In March, the Daigo Fukuryu Maru, a Japanese fishing vessel, is contaminated by fallout from an American hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll.
In May, the Marukis are invited to show Bamboo Grove at the 1st Japanese Contemporary Art Exhibition.
- In February, Relief is shown at the 8th Japan Independent Exhibition.
In June, Yaizu is shown at the 3rd Nippon Exhibition.
In August, the first World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs is held in Hiroshima.
- In February, Petition is shown at the 9th Japan Independent Exhibition.
Marking the completion of 10 panels, a world tour is organized by the Committee for the International Exhibition of the Hiroshima Panels.
- The Marukis contribute The Atomic Bomb: Fire and The Atomic Bomb: Water to Jofukuin Temple on Mt. Koya in Wakayama Prefecture.
In May, the Marukis are invited to show Mother and Child at the 5th Japan International Art Exhibition.
In June, Niji Shobo publishes a catalogue of the Hiroshima Panels.
- The Marukis join 10 other Communist Party members in calling for reform; they are expelled from the Party.
The Hiroshima Panels return to Japan from overseas.
- In March, the Marukis move to Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture.
- In December, the Marukis move to Higashi-Matsuyama, Saitama Prefecture.
- In May, the Maruki Gallery for the Hiroshima Panels opens.
In July, Denen Shobo publishes a catalogue of the Hiroshima Panels.
In August, the film Gembaku no Zu (The Hiroshima Panels, directed by Miyajima Yoshio) is released.
- In June, Floating Lanterns is shown at the 1st So-ten Exhibition.
- The first 8 Hiroshima Panels go on a one-year tour of 8 cities in the United States.
- In July, Death of the American Prisoners of War is shown at the 4th Taiga Exhibition.
- In August, Crows is shown at the 5th Taiga Exhibition.
In September, the Hiroshima Panels are exhibited at the BSN Niigata Art Museum, sponsored by Niigata Nippo-sha.
The Maruki Gallery publishes the Hiroshima Panels catalogue.
- In March, The Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima, commissioned by the city of Hiroshima, is installed in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
- In March, The Rape of Nanking is shown at the 2nd Hito-hito Exhibition.
- In March, Auschwitz is shown at the 3rd Hito-hito Exhibition.
- The Hiroshima Panels exhibition tours 10 cities in France.
- In March, From the Axis Pact to Sanrizuka is shown at the 5th Hito-hito Exhibition. In May, it is also shown at the 3rd International Anti-Fascist Realistic Art Triennale in Bulgaria, where it wins the Grand Prize. The Marukis present the painting to the National Art Gallery in Sofia.
- In March, Minamata is shown at the 6th Hito-hito Exhibition.
In June, Toshi publishes the picture book Hiroshima no Pika (Komine Shoten).
- In February, the film Minamata no Zu Monogatari (The Story of Minamata, directed by Tsuchimoto Noriaki) is released.
In March, Minamata, Nuclear Power, Sanrizuka is shown at the 7th Hito-hito Exhibition.
- In May, the Marukis are invited to show Nagasaki at the 4th International Anti-Fascist Realistic Art Triennale in Bulgaria.
- In March, The Battle of Okinawa is shown at the 10th Hito-hito Exhibition.
In June, the film Nuchido Takara: Okinawa Sen no Zu (Life is a Treasure: The Battle of Okinawa, directed by Maeda Kenji) is released.
- In March, Hell is shown at the 11th Hito-hito Exhibition.
In May, the Marukis win the Special Grand Prize at the 5th International Anti-Fascist Realistic Art Triennale in Bulgaria.
In August, In July, Kodansha International publishes The Hiroshima Murals.
- In March, the film Hellfire: Journey from Hiroshima (directed by John Junkerman) is released.
In July, The Atomic Bomb: Paper Lantern; The Battle of Okinawa: Cape Kyan; and The Battle of Okinawa: The Cave are shown at the 1st Garyu Exhibition.
- In March, the three paintings in The Battle of Okinawa: Yomitan Village series (Chibichiri Cave, Shimuku Cave, and Zanpa Ojishi) are shown at the 13th Hito-hito Exhibition.
In July, Ashio Copper Mine and Demonstration, from the Ashio Copper Mine Incident series, are shown at the 2nd Garyu Exhibition.
- In March, Watarase River Flood and Direct Appeal and Women’s Demonstration, from the Ashio Copper Mine Incident series, are shown at the 14th Hito-hito Exhibition.
In April, the Marukis are awarded honorary doctorate degree by the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston. An exhibition of the Marukis’ work, Surviving Visions, is held at the college’s North Hall Gallery.
- In March, Burning of Fields in Yanaka Village, from the Ashio Copper Mine Incident series, and The Taigyaku Incident are shown at the 14th Hito-hito Exhibition.
- In July, Maruki Iri exhibition opens at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.
- In November, Sakima Art Museum opens in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture.
- The Marukis are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In June, The World of Maruki Iri and Maruki Toshi exhibition opens at the Ikeda Museum of 20th Century Art.
In October, Iri dies.
- In January, Toshi dies.
In March, Crows and The Rape of Nanking are shown at the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea.
- In May, a Maruki Toshi exhibition opens at Galleria Nike at Joshibi University of Art and Design.
- In October, the Hiroshima Panels are exhibited at Insadong Art Plaza in Seoul, South Korea.
- In September, the Hiroshima Panels are exhibited at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing.
- In October, the Maruki Toshi Centennial Exhibition opens at the Ichinomiya City Memorial Art Museum of Setsuko Migishi.
- The Hiroshima Panels tour the United States, with exhibitions at American University in Washington D.C.; Boston University; and Pioneer Works in New York City.
- The Hiroshima Panels (Fire and Atomic Desert) are included in an exhibition, Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965, at Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany.
- In March, Painting and Imagination: Bernard Buffet and Iri & Toshi Maruki Exhibition opens at the Bernard Buffet Museum in Shizuoka Prefecture.
In September, Iri and Toshi Maruki: Understanding The Hiroshima Panels opens at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.
- In May, Doshinsha publishes the story with kamishibai (paper play) picture cards Chicchai Koe (Voices from Little Things, written by Arthur Binard). All the characters in the story are based on imagery from the Hiroshima Panels.
In October, The Maruki Gallery publishes the new catalogue The Hiroshima Panels: The Art of Maruki Iri and Maruki Toshi.