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.
There’s always been a strong connection between Japan and the George Lucas-helmed Star Wars franchise. From the samurai-influenced Darth Vader and Stormtrooper costume designs through to the film’s storyline, which borrows heavily from Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film Hidden Fortress, Lucas himself is the first to admit he owes a lot of his creative inspiration to the Land of the Rising Sun.
So it’s nice to see that Japan is reciprocating the love with a number of Star Wars creations of their own. From samurai-styled figurines to ukiyo-e woodblock prints, these Japanese-styled homages to the epic American film franchise are the perfect way to get ready for the December 18 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And now you can carry the force wherever you go, with a gorgeous wooden iPhone 6 case that’s so beautiful even a Sith Lord would stand in line to buy one.
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.
We think it’s probably a safe bet that fans of Naruto and fans of traditional Japanese culture have a fair amount of overlap.
Naruto, after all, features ninjas flipping around in the air and throwing fireballs and whatnot, which is pretty much what we’re told old-timey Japan was all about. Well, that and, like, crazy, swelling tsunami waves so epic that artists felt the need to document them in Japan’s famed woodblock prints.
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.
Regular readers will no doubt know that we at RocketNews24 love video games. And as anyone with a pair of eyes in their head can tell from a quick glance at our site, we live and breathe Japan and Asia as a whole. So when we stumbled upon these works of art, which combine traditional Japanese woodblock printing and one of our favourite games ever, Katamari Damacy, we simply had to share them with you.
This isn’t Hello Kitty…
Just how many hundred times Yuko Shimizu has been confused with Kitty-chan’s creator we don’t know, but even quick glance at the New York-based illustrator’s inspired work should make it plain that the two artists are worlds apart.
Already being labelled by some internet users as “Ukiyoe Rock”, Yuko Shimizu’s illustrations are evocative to say the very least. We’re pretty sure that Hello Kitty would blush her little red ribbon off if she saw some of these striking images…