Ai-Mitsu [靉光] (1907–1946) By Rosenbaum, Roman
Ai-Mitsu, born Nichiro Ishimura, was the second son of a landowning family in Hiroshima. As an artist he was known for his Western-style paintings, his eschewing of the hieratic of sensō-ga (painting, 戦争画), and his pursuit of a variety of styles ranging from sōgen-ga (Chinese-style painting, 宋元画), to self-portraits and Surrealism. During the war he joined a group of self-portrait painters called the Shinjin Gakai (Association of New Painters, 新人画会), which was established in 1943. He was conscripted in 1944 and sent to the front in Manchuria. He died in 1946 in a hospital in Shanghai, following the surrender of Japan. While many of his works were destroyed in the atomic bomb explosion in Hiroshima, his most famous work, Me no aru fūkei (目のある風景, Landscape with an Eye, 1938), is currently held in the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. In this painting of a shapeless landscape with an embedded eye, he succeeded in giving form to the thoughts and feelings that were generally suppressed during Japan’s Asia-Pacific war.