Michi Hashimoto


Name Michi Hashimoto
Born July 10 1887
Died April 17 1972
Birth Location Fukushima, Japan
Generational Identifier

Issei

Hashimoto was an oil and watercolor painter who also produced decorative screens, who exhibited widely in the 1920s and early 1930s in Southern California.

Born in Fukushima, Japan, on July 10, 1887, artist Michi Hashimoto (1887-1972) nee Yoshida, emigrated to the United States in 1911 when she was twenty-four years old and began a new life in Oakland, California. In 1920, she was accepted at the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating in 1924.

Her first solo show was held at the Los Angeles Museum the same year she graduated from UCLA, and showcased a selection of her watercolors and painted screens. Extant paintings of Hashimoto's reveal that her full repertoire included portraits, fantastic landscapes, still lifes, and work with mystical themes in both oils and watercolors and the use of gold metallic paint. A review of the 1924 show appeared in the Los Angeles Times, focused on the fact that despite Hashimoto's interest in working in the manner and style of Western artists, her teachers at UCLA had "encouraged her to keep to the occidental oriental spirit in her work, and she soon came to a place in her study where she wished to express herself in the Japanese manner." Another solo exhibition was held at the Frances Webb Gallery in 1940 and featured portraits of family and friends. This exhibit was reviewed again by the Los Angeles Times, which stated that she was now working in a "direct Western style."

In 1922, she married Masahiko Hashimoto and settled in West Los Angeles, where her husband ran a nursery with his brothers. She and her husband were both prominent and active members of the Japanese community in West Los Angeles and she served as the first president of the local fujinkai women's group. The Hashimotos made their first major trip back to Japan in 1930, spending six months abroad, and their departure was covered extensively by the Rafu Shimpo newspaper. In 1942, the couple moved to Japan and lived in Tokyo throughout World War II. Their home was destroyed in an accidental fire shortly after, in which much of her work was destroyed, and in 1944 they moved south to Fukushima prefecture.

Hashimoto and her husband returned to the United States after the war in 1950 and settled in Pacoima, California. They returned to their former neighborhood in West Los Angeles in 1957, and continued to assist the Hashimoto family in running the Hashimoto Nursery until 1970. She died on April 17, 1972, in Los Angeles, California.

Authored by Patricia Wakida

For More Information

Chang, Gordon H., Mark Dean Johnson, and Paul J. Karlstrom, editors. Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008.