Friday, September 16 1921: Japanese Painter Manyou Ito was born, brother of Yukiji Asaoka.

1921 (Taisho 10) Friday, September 16 The second son Mitsuru was born to Shinsui ITO, a young Japanese-style painter and printmaker who was 23 years old at that time, and his wife Yoshiko. Shinsui participated in the new woodblock print movement at that time including Goyo Hashiguchi, and he energetically published his works. In 1922 (Taisho year 11), the year following the birth of Man, his work “Sashi” distinguished himself by winning a silver medal at the Peace Memorial Tokyo Exhibition. It became popular for its bijinga (beautiful women’s pictures) with the unique soft expression of Japanese-style painting, which succeeded the orthodoxy of Utagawa school Ukiyoe. She was the model for many of those bijinga, but was his wife, Yoshiko.

Mitsuru, who was born on this day, studied under Shinsui from his father as he grew up, and went the way to become a painter as well, and called himself Manyo ITO. In 1967 (Showa 42), she won the Prime Minister’s Award for her work “Odoru” (Dance), and in 1968 (Showa 43), she won the Award of the Japan Art Academy for her work “Onna” (Woman). Her future was promising, but on November 26, 1970 (Showa 45), she died of esophageal cancer at the age of only 49.

As for his father Shinsui Ito, he had a close relationship with his wife Yoshiko, who was also his model, as well as with the proprietress of the Tsukiji restaurant Katsuta, Makiko Katsuta. In 1935 (Showa 10), when Shinsui was 38 years old, Yukie Katsuta, a daughter born out of wedlock, was born to her. Shinsui Ito says he doted on Yukie. After graduating from Yamawaki Gakuen Junior High School, she joined the Takarazuka Revue, and at the age of 16, she was selected for the lead role in the Takarazuka stage drama ‘Long live the human!’ Moving to Shochiku at the age of 19, she later appeared in numerous TV and movie productions. She became especially popular in the 1960s as an assistant on the TV show “11 PM” with host Kyosen Ohashi. She also appeared as a jazz singer on 10 NHK Kohaku Utagassen (NHK Year-end Grand Song Festival). She is also known in Japanese dance as the head of the Shinsui school, named after her father. Who is this multi-talented woman who is an actress, a talent, a singer, and a master of Japanese dance? Her real name is Yukie Katsuta and her stage name is Yukiji Asaoka.

Yukiji ASAOKA married an actor, Masahiko TSUGAWA, in 1973 (Showa 48). They were known as mandarin duck couple. And 3 years ago, on April 27, 2018, Yuk 30 iji Asaoka died at the age of 82. And on August 4, three months after this wife’s death, her husband, Masahiko Tsugawa, also died soon after. That year, a joint farewell party for married couples was held at Aoyama Funeral Home with about 800 participants. The graveyard is in Ryoanji Temple which is famous for its rock garden of Karesansui in Kyoto, and the couple of Setsuji Asaoka and Masahiko Tsugawa are buried together.

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