Lovers of art, history and animals are celebrating the release of an exclusive set of ukiyoe woodblock prints from 1857 that are now free to download and share online.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Chiura Obata. Well, all that changes now.
In September, we introduced you to the new line of Ghost in the Shell ukiyo-e prints being prepared by OtakuWorks Inc. The first print was a relatively simple but beautiful take on the original movie poster, and while this second entry is equally limited and beautiful, its inspiration comes from a slightly different source: it’s based on the 24-hour Cherry Blossom Stakeout scene from the newest film!
Japanese ukiyo-e painters from the Edo period (1603-1868) are now famous throughout the world for their exquisite woodblock prints depicting everyday Japanese life and the natural world. Such master painters are less well-known, however, for their humorous contributions to the art world, which often feature whimsical scenes of anthropomorphic animals. Fortunately for us, though, these types of pictures are experiencing a recent wave of popularity among Japanese Internet users, and these images are simply too cute for us to just pass up. We’ve got fish, cats, puppies, monkeys, and a few more surprises from the masters in store for you after the jump!
A critical darling, Ghost in the Shell may well be one of the most beloved anime in history. Its compelling story, engaging characters and beautiful art all combine to make one of the most exciting franchises we can name, so it’s little surprise that 25 years after its release, the film remains a fan favorite to this day.
In celebration of the first film and the entire franchise, a special product has been announced: a limited-edition series of ukiyo-e prints featuring images from Ghost in the Shell! But when we say limited-edition, we really do mean limited — only 300 copies will be made!
And they won’t come cheap either…
Video games nowadays are pretty complicated affairs, with hyper-realistic graphics, sweeping storylines and intricate controls. Sometimes, though, we still long for the time of simpler games, when there were only two buttons and the story was fairly non-existent.
A recent uptick in retro-style games really hammers home the idea that some of the older games were just plain…funner. OK, maybe the graphics could use a bit of an upgrade, but instead of updating the graphics, how about we “old-date” them instead? An artist embarked on a personal project that mixes 80’s video games with the ukiyo-e style and his results are so great, you want to see them up close in order to take in all the details.
When someone mentions GIFs, it usually calls to mind one of two things; funny TV show clips posted as responses on forum threads, or a burning desire to assert to anyone and everyone that it’s definitely g-if and not j-if, no matter what the creator says.
However, despite their usual inanity, these sputtering animations can actually be mini works of art in their own right. One Japanese ‘gif artist’ has used modern-day computer wizardry to bring to life traditional ukiyo-e scenes in humorous and entrancing ways.
2015 has been a good year for lovers of Japanese art in Boston. The city’s phenomenal Museum of Fine Arts has hosted not just one, but three special exhibitions of Japanese art so far this year, along with its newly restored Japanese garden outside. The most hyped of all of these is an exhibition dedicated solely to Katsushika Hokusai, one of the most important ukiyo-e painters and printmakers of the Edo period who’s best known as the creator of The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
Besides the Hokusai collection, the museum is also hosting a particularly powerful exhibit displaying the work of 17 photographers in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku triple disasters, along with a lighthearted exhibit showcasing prints of some whimsical Japanese toys and games. As all three of the exhibitions are preparing to wind down within the next few weeks after hosting thousands of visitors over the past months, we thought we’d take a moment to share some of their highlights with you!
Japan is just as crazy about Star Wars as the rest of the world and everyone is eagerly awaiting the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on December 18, 2015 (Good news! It’s being released in Japan at the same time as most of the world!). So it’s the perfect opportunity for a number of Star Wars affiliated projects to get under way. One project is striking a chord with our love of Japan and our love of Star Wars as it combines a traditional art form with a very non-traditional universe.
Street art is just cool. Ukiyo-e woodblock prints are also just cool. Put them both together and you get the uber-cool identity-exploring works of Los Angeles artist Gajin Fujita, who fuses Japanese iconography with the U.S. urban vocabulary of graffiti.
Recently, we brought you the news that you can now view an online animated sketchbook version of works by famous Japanese Ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. But what if you’re not content just looking at beautiful art online? What if you could see it every time you look down at your feet? Well, with these awesome printed sneakers from TeeFury.com, you can get some culture into your wardrobe while still looking cool!
Oh, and as an added bonus, they’ve stuck Godzilla’s ugly monster mush into the design, too!
If there’s one Japanese artist just about everyone is familiar with, it’s Hokusai. Even if they don’t know the late Edo-period painter by name, his landscape series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji is instantly recognizable, with The Great Wave off Kanagawa and South Wind, Clear Sky, better known as Red Fuji, perhaps the most famous works in all of Japanese painting.
Hokusai passed away in 1849, meaning he never got the chance to work in the mediums of motion pictures. Had he been born a bit later though, and had the desire to move into animation, perhaps the result would have looked a little something like this video.
Lovers of Japanese art and history will be familiar with the world-famous set of ukiyo-e woodblock prints known as “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido.” Created in the 1800s by famed artist Utagawa Hiroshige, the collection is a series of landscape paintings from each of the post stations on the ancient coastal walking route from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto and is frequently praised for the way it captures the spirit and essence of old Japan.
While the masterful works have garnered fans around the world, when it comes to sharing the images online, things haven’t been so easy. Now, limitations have been lifted and the beautiful series is free to share without copyright restrictions. What better way to celebrate the good news than to share some of the best with you, our dear readers?
It’s almost guaranteed to adorn the walls of every study abroad student in Japan, plus the living room of your worldly, “enlightened” friend that minored in East Asian studies.
Of course, we’re talking about “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” – legendary ukiyo-e woodblock painter Hokusai’s most renowned work that depicts a fearsome-looking wave battering old-timey fishing boats off the coast of Kanagawa, Japan.
With its claw-like foam signaling impending doom for the fisherman and other artistic flourishes, one would think that the wave depicted is strictly artistic license, but one French photographer has captured strikingly similar-looking waves in real life.
Ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints, are a celebrated art form in Japan with a long and distinguished history. But you’d be mistaken if you thought it was all serious art and depictions of beautiful things. There’s also a lot of ukiyo-e out there that’s a bit, well, weird and gross, like that one picture of the dudes farting at each other. Today, we’d like to share with you one such bizarre collection from famous artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa depicting one of Japan’s most beloved national animals, the tanuki, aka raccoon dog – notorious for having really, really huge testicles.
Ukiyo-e, (浮世絵), or the “floating world pictures” synonymous with the woodblock prints and paintings of the rising merchant class of Edo period (1603-1867) Japan, include some of Japan’s most recognizable pieces of artwork to this day. Along with kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, historical/mythological scenes, and landscapes, one of the most popular subject matter choices for ukiyo-e were portraits of beautiful women, also known as bijin-ga.
Despite the passage of time between the end of the Edo period and the modern day, at least one artist still incorporates traditional ukiyo-e elements into her pictures of beautiful women with a subtly modern flair. Get ready to feast your eyes on these exquisite modern-day paintings of kimono-clad beauties by artist Haruyo Morita!
Ukiyo-e Heroes are a group of artists who work in the medium of tradional Japanese woodblock printing (ukiyo-e), a style most strongly associated with Japanese culture. This group has turned their facebook page into a virtual gallery displaying their favorite muse: video games.
When you think of Japanese ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints, you probably think of Hokusai’s beautiful landscapes in his Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji, or the stylized prints of beautiful courtesans in traditional Japanese dress. But there are also many pieces of Japanese art and ukiyo-e from the Edo to the Meiji period (between 1603 and 1912) that represent a more mythical and macabre side of Japan.
The following is a collection of 20 pieces that all contain skulls or skeletons in some form, many of them by renowned and famous artists of the time.
Hokusai Katsushika is known throughout the world for his masterpieces such as The Great Wave off Kanagawa, seen on many a dorm wall, and his Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. He is the ‘father’ of Japanese woodblock prints, or ukiyo-e, and can be credited with popularizing the Japanese art form in the West during the 1800s.
But it’s possible that the prolific artist had help from one of his daughters, who was also a talented ukiyo-e artist in her own right. Read on for a look at some of her spectacular pieces.
Having learned the hard way that some TV series exist simply to keep viewers hanging for years (yes, Lost, I am looking at you), I have to admit that I gave the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones a wide berth for quite some time after it first aired. A few months and the contraction of a very nasty cold later, I found myself in bed with a heap of medication, a DVD box-set and little else to do. By the time I was back on my feet, I was a huge fan of the series (and may have run “Game of Thrones blonde girl” through Google a couple of times) and swallowed, along with the last of the medicine, my usual stubborn pride by telling friends that I was ready to join in their nerdy conversations and even read the books that they had all finished with years ago.
Little did I know, though, that the TV show could be made all the more awesome by recreating some of its more memorable scenes in the style of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, with all of my favourite characters looking like they reside in feudal Japan rather than Westeros.