IMAIZUMI Yoshihiko (1931–2010) is an individual who supported post-war avant garde art both implicitly and explicitly. Seeking to become a painter, IMAIZUMI began by writing critical essays for publications like the magazine Work & Critique in the 1950s. In 1958, he participated in the inaugural issue of the magazine Keishō (Form) (later renamed Kikan, or Organ). Through Keishō, IMAIZUMI interacted more with young avant garde artists at the time. The artists he met became lecturers at the art school known as Bigakkō (Art School) that the publisher Gendaishicho started in 1969. IMAIZUMI was involved with Bigakkō from its inception. In 1975, Bigakkō broke from Gendaishicho, and IMAIZUMI joined the School’s board to help run the School.
Materials in IMAIZUMI’s collection that were related to Bigakkō were exhibited at an exhibit entitled “Anti-Academy” at the John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton in 2013. During the current survey, KIKKAWA Hideki and KAWAI Daisuke, Associate Fellows in the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems, examined materials consisting of a diary, photographs, books, magazines, and correspondence. This survey took place with the help of IMAIZUMI’s wife Eiko, who was referred to the Institute by SHIMADA Yoshiko, one of the individuals who planned the “Anti-Academy” exhibition. The materials were found to include a relatively large amount of correspondence with and documents regarding artists who later taught at Bigakkō such as NAKAMURA Hiroshi, a fellow graduate of the Art Department of Nihon University known for his reportage painting, AKASEGAWA Genpei, who met IMAIZUMI at a round-table discussion on “Keishō” and who went on trial for the “1000 Yen Note” incident (IMAIZUMI was one of the key figures who helped to support AKASEGAWA during his trial), KIKUHATA Mokuma, a key member of the avant-garde art group known as the Kyūshū-ha, and MATSUZAWA Yutaka, the pioneer of conceptual art in Japan.
In addition to materials related to these artists, IMAIZUMI’s collection also includes a detailed diary he wrote from around 1960–1962. IMAIZUMI’s collection includes valuable records from the time when Japanese avant-garde art was at its peak. Plans are to continue studying post-war art by examining these materials in detail.