A number of impressive details hidden within the image has made fans go crazy for this limited-edition print.
After opening for Lady Gaga, performing on David Letterman and wrapping up a U.S. concert tour, Japanese virtual idol Hatsune Miku has been picking up fans from across the world with her aqua-coloured tresses and adorable synthesised voice. Back in her homeland of Japan, however, Miku’s futuristic appearance has been going back in time to a different era, in a limited edition ukiyo-e woodblock print that incorporates 400 years of traditional techniques in its construction.
Miku looks absolutely beautiful as a kimono-clad girl at Nihonbashi in Edo (modern-day Tokyo) with a view of Mt. Fuji in the background.
What makes this print extra special, however, is the inclusion of several interesting figures just behind Miku in the frame. Hidden amongst the traditionally clad Japanese men on the bridge are the mini-skirted figures of fellow vocaloids Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, and MEIKO.
▼ To the right of Miku, we can see the pink-haired figure of Luka and the long blue stole of Kaito, completing the group of “Piapro Characters”, of which Miku is the number one star.
A master carver of ukiyo-e was enlisted to carry out the project, using traditional techniques which included carving lines just 1-millimetre (0.04-inch) thick into a block of cherry wood.
Once the initial print is made, it’s then rubbed a total of 45 times on 21 different cuts of wood, using precision accuracy by hand to fill in the different colours.
▼ The prints incorporate traditional light-coloured hues, along with a bright aqua to bring out Miku’s trademark flowing twin tails.
The paper used is also incredibly special, containing no wood pulp, and handmade with only 100 percent paper mulberry by 9th generation paper craftsman Ichibei Iwano, who has been designated a National Living Treasure.
The incredibly detailed prints went on sale at Hobbystock for 48,600 yen (US$485.05) each, and the limited stock of 100 sold out immediately. With demand this great, let’s hope they produce some more in the future!