Tag Archives: kuniyoshi

Japanese Prints and the Tradition of Story Telling

Complex narrative lies at the heart of traditional Japanese culture. From the very beginnings, the Japanese were devoted to the structure of sophisticated narrative. The first true novel, the 11th century Genji monogatari – “The Tale of the Genji”- is … Continue reading

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Tales Of Old Japan

The new selection of prints online at Toshidama Japanese Prints takes inspiration from a book published by an English aristocrat in 1871. They are a random collection of folk tales, myths and stories from before the great modernisation of Japan … Continue reading

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Where are the Shadows in Japanese Prints

Utagawa Kunisada/Toyokuni III (1786-1865) Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan, 1831. An unusual feature of Japanese woodblock prints, one often overlooked by experts and by the casual ‘reader’, is the unsettling absence of shadows. In western drawing and painting shadows form the very … Continue reading

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Bandits, Brigands and Warlords.

Kuniyoshi, The 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden: Du Qian, the Sky Toucher, 1827 Perhaps we should look at these tremendous Japanese prints of fighting men – heroic or tragic figures… bound as they are in myth and history – … Continue reading

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What to Look for in a Japanese Print

Hiroshige Spring Rain from the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô Road, 1832 It is easy to slip into an enthusiasm, to think we know our way around a subject without standing back and taking an overview. As for early … Continue reading

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Onnagata – Gender in Kabuki and Japanese Prints

Kunichika. Scene from the Play ‘Ashiya Doman Ouchi Kagami’, 1881  We have written extensively on our gallery blogs about the onnagata – male kabuki actors who take female roles. There is something unique in the representations of gender that have … Continue reading

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Kuni, Kuni, Kuni – Three Japanese Woodblock Artists of Decadence

Kunichika, Nakamura Shikan IV as Daihachi and Onoe Kikugoro V as Tatsugoro, 1890 The prefix ‘Kuni’ started life as the suffix ‘kuni’ in the name Toyokuni. The artist who created the catchy brand name Toyokuni I, was the successful woodblock … Continue reading

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Woodblocks for Printing

It’s very very hard to explain to people, and still harder for most people to imagine how the delicate, ephemeral, jewel-like images on Japanese woodblock prints can be made from great thick chunks of timber… or how the sharp hair’s … Continue reading

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The Utagawa Lineage in Japanese Prints

A Basic ‘Family Tree’ of the Utagawa School. The picture above is an over simplified ‘family tree’ of the principal individuals in the Utagawa School of Japanese woodblock print artists. Toshidama Gallery has a significant online presence and we are … Continue reading

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Hapless and Heroic – Men in Japanese Prints

Kuniyoshi, Yokoyama Daizo and Otaka Tonomo, 1848 It’s hard to escape archetypes when discussing culture, whether it’s the contemporary culture that one’s a part of or whether it’s looking at a painting in a museum, or a sculpture in a … Continue reading

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