About the Exhibition of Woodblock Prints
Takahashi Kobo* in Tokyo is committed to introducing the techniques and culture of Edo woodblock printing to a modern audience, primarily through print production and sales. They have been working on a project to restore and make reprints from seven old woodblocks forming part of a series titled ‘Tsuki Hyakushi’ (One Hundred Aspects of the Moon) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. Yoshitoshi was an Ukiyo-e artist who was active during the final years of the Edo period (1603-1868) and the early Meiji era (1868-1912). The restored prints will be exhibited and made available for purchase at the exhibition at Fordham Abbey, Cambridgeshire in February 2022. This restoration project has been undertaken as part of the Edo Tokyo Kirari Project*, which Takahashi Kobo has been part of since its selection in 2019.
■ Background to the Restoration and Reproduction of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi’s ‘Tsuki Hyakushi’ (One Hundred Aspects of the Moon)
The restoration of cultural assets has become more common in recent years across various genres and styles of artwork. This is not yet, however, the case for Edo woodblock prints; as a category it has fallen behind the curve. Nevertheless, Edo woodblock printing has been designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, as a selected conservation technique (restoration section), with the aim of preserving its techniques and passing on the its traditions. Takahashi Kobo has been certified as a preservation organization for the Edo woodblock printing conservation technique.
Unfortunately, most of the woodblocks used to print Edo woodblock prints have been lost, meaning that in most cases there is nothing tangible to restore. This Yoshitoshi project therefore represents an incredibly rare and valuable opportunity to acquire old woodblocks and work on their restoration.
Japan’s Ukiyo-e culture is achieving ever greater domestic and global recognition, thanks to the reputations of such leading artists as Hokusai and Hiroshige. In turn, this has also led to increased interest into the work of Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, the so-called “last Ukiyo-e artist”, who strove to improve the precision of his depictions in line with the changes of the time, while simultaneously conforming to traditional Japanese sentiment.
* About Takahashi Kobo
Takahashi Kobo was founded in the Ansei era (1854-1860) and, in the 160 years since its establishment, has been producing traditional woodblock prints of the highest quality. Takahashi Kobo will continue to develop projects and produce superlative artworks by combining the artisan “surishi” (printer) skills that it has nurtured since its inception with the wide-ranging knowledge and sensitivity it demonstrates while also acting as a “hanmoto” (publisher) with proven production capabilities.
Takahashi Kobo Co., Ltd.
2-4-19, Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo,
TEL +81-3-3814-2801 / FAX +81-3-3811-7341
Founded: Ansei era (1854-1860)
Representative Yukiko Takahashi
‘Moon at Musashino Plain’,
part of the restored ‘One Hundred Aspects of the Moon’ series
by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
* Edo Tokyo Kirari Project
The Edo Tokyo Kirari Project is an initiative designed to shine a fresh light on traditional Edo craft skills and products. The project highlights the value and appeal of these Edo traditions by reimagining them as modern Tokyo brands.