Born in Duluth, Minnesota, Clifton Karhu was one of the most acclaimed American woodblock artists to work in Japan. The son of two painters, Karhu joined the military. Stationed at the American Navy base in Sasebo from 1946 to 1948, he fell in love with Japan. Upon his return to the United States, he attended the Minneapolis Art School (1950-52) before returning to Japan in 1952 as a missionary of the Lutheran church. He later settled in Gifu prefecture and returned to art, working in oils and watercolor. His reputation grew swiftly, winning first prize at the Middle Pacific Art Group Exhibition, and he held his first solo exhibition at Shin Gifu Gallery. In 1963, he moved to Kyoto. Immersed in the city’s vibrant artistic community, he began his successful career in woodblock printmaking. His self-carved and self-printed works portray traditional style houses and architectural details. Deeply expressive, yet precise and geometric, Karhu’s style has earned him enormous popularity worldwide. Karhu passed away from lung cancer in 2007.