Japanese Print Arts in Ginza

Meet different artists, artisans and the publisher

By Chikako Takahashi    - 2 min read

Ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock printing, is one of Japan’s famous arts and the works are very popular as a souvenir too. You can get them at souvenir or antique shops, in galleries and sometimes also at bookshops in Japan. However, if you are searching for a greater variety of high-quality works, or if you are interested in modern works or other prints like silkscreen prints, or etchings, of course the best way is to go to a specialty shop.

“S.Watanabe Color Print Co. (渡邊木版美術画舗) in Ginza is one of those shops; it operates as an art dealer and publisher, maintaining the traditional ukiyo-e collaborative system. This system consists of artists, carvers, printers who collaborate on the prints, each of them contributing their talents , and a publisher as the key person who takes decisions regarding the relevant theme and performance, just like a movie director. Especially in the movement of the early 20th century called shin-hanga (新版画), or "new prints", the owner oft he shop at the time, Shozaburo Watanabe was known as a publisher who brought out a wonderful artist called Hasui Kawase. You can see the incredible works with around 40 steps to print by the collaboration of the artist and this shop here.

Until September 7th (2014) there was an exhibition celebrating Kawase-san’s 130th birthday at the Kawagoe City Art Museum (川越市立美術館). Kawagoe is a lovely town right next to Tokyo, which holds many cultural properties and historic sites. It takes only 40 to 55 minutes by train to reach Kawagoe from Tokyo, depending on the line you choose.

In case you missed this, don't worry, there will be another exhibition in Tokyo from January 2nd to January 12th (2015) at Nihonbashi Takashimaya department store.

Getting back to the shop once again, seeing the variety of prints of different eras is an exciting experience. Of course you can also get "original" antique ukiyo-e and authentically reprinted ones by the remaining traditional techniques. You might enjoy seeing how the original colors of antique ukiyo-e looked like those days when being printed freshly! Apart from print works (woodblock and silkscreen print, lithograph, etching), you can also get beautifully printed postcards, calendars or frames for prints.

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Chikako Takahashi

Chikako Takahashi @chikako.takahashi

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