For the cover of its catalog for this year's 45th annual print show, the College Women's Association of Japan chose a print with a musical theme. "Polonaise Fantasy" depicts miniature cyclists and runners racing over a fanciful keyboard against a back cloth of an even more fanciful musical score. "I often use musical motifs," artist Toru Hirota said. "I love music but I don't play any instruments. I don't even read music. It's pure longing. Sometimes I get inspired by the way notes are scattered on the score sheets. Sometimes I make up my own notes. For this print I used the actual score of the Chopin piece Polonaise Fantasy."

An established, independent artist, Hirota will exhibit in this year's CWAJ Print Show for the first time. He has two prints in the 249 selected from over 600 submitted. One of these two was singled out for the catalog cover honor. As a viewer he had gone to the show last year, and said: "I liked the atmosphere and the visitors. I thought those were the people I would like to have appreciate my works."

Hirota was born and grew up in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. "I still live there," he said. "My atelier is near my parents' home." He attended the local Shonan High School "by a pure fluke. I immediately realized it was a mistake, as academically I was no match for my classmates. Many of them went on to the University of Tokyo. The school had a very active art club, so I began painting seriously there." He felt that art was the only field in which he could hold his own.