Fundraising Japanese hanga print exhibition coming up

A Tokyo-based women’s volunteer group — now in its 60th year of activity — is holding an annual fundraising show of print works next week.

The College Women’s Association of Japan, comprising nearly 550 members from about 30 countries, will use the proceeds from the Oct. 16-18 exhibition and sale of contemporary Japanese hanga prints to finance its scholarship programs for women and visually impaired people.

The print show, to be held at Tokyo American Club, will feature 188 works by 182 artists, all of which will be signed by the artists for sale, according to the CWAJ.

The prints to be exhibited at the show — diverse in form ranging from lithography to silkscreen — have been selected by international advisers from respected museums and printmaking experts. The artists come from all over the world but have all studied printmaking in Japan.

The show is open to the public and admission is free.

CWAJ’s origin dates back to right after World War II, when a group of U.S. college alumnae in Tokyo worked together to provide travel grants for Japanese students with scholarships at U.S. universities but did not have the money to pay for their travel expenses, the group says in its web site.

Its membership was expanded in the 1960s to include women who have studied at universities in Japan and abroad, and the travel grant program was replaced with female-only scholarships to support women in graduate-level education “to become better equipped to compete in the male-dominated job market,” the group says.

Since the 1980s the group has also provided scholarship to non-Japanese women who study at Japanese universities. It launched another scholarship program for visually impaired students in 1978.

The scholarships and travel grants have so far been provided to more than 780 women for their graduate-level education outside of their home countries.

Those programs are funded by the proceeds from the annual print show as well as individual and corporate donations, the CWAJ says.

The print show was launched in 1956 based on the idea of a CWAJ member, who was a print artist herself, and art critic and author Oliver Statler, and among the artists exhibiting their works in the early shows were Unichi Hiratsuka, Kiyoshi Saito, Shiko Munakata, and Koshiro Onchi.

More information about the print show is available at CWAJ’s home page