Shin Hanga prints


During and after the Meiji era, many professional woodblock printers and carvers were forced to turn to other jobs to make a living. Only some craftsmen raised in the traditional art of woodblock printmaking were able to continue working, based on the well-established quartet always consisting of four people: the publisher, the designer, the carver, and the printer. After the Meiji era the traditional Japanese co-operation of four different professionals producing woodblock prints were called the Shin Hanga (literally meaning New Prints) movement.

In the 20th century publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō (who was responsible for publishing the prints designed by Kawase Hasui and Itō Shinsui for example) was instrumental in reviving this tradition of producing Japanese woodblock prints. The French artist Paul Jacoulet - living almost all his life (including the Second World War) in Japan - also hired professional Japanese carvers and printers for the production of his woodblock prints, and - acknowledging their stupendous skills - added their names to most of his prints.

One woodblock carver - not only responsible for the prints designed by Paul Jacoulet, but also for those designed by Kawase Hasui and Torii Kotondo - particularly stands out for his enormous craftmanship during this most recent time of Japanese history. His name is Kentarō Maeda.

During this very same post-Meiji period the what is known as the Sosaku Hanga (literally meaning Creative Prints) movement was receiving much more attention from art reviewers (both abroad and in Japan) than the Shin Hanga movement. Artists of the Sosaku Hanga movement typically did all the work (the publishing, designing, carving, and printing of their designs) themselves, claiming that the technical skills required in the carving and printing of woodblock prints would only hinder their artistic expression in the woodblock printing medium. A typical example of the prints produced by the Sosaku Hanga movement is this one (click on the image to obtain a larger view of this print):

Umetaro_Azechi-thumbnail

This original woodblock print is the frontispiece of a book on woodblock printing techniques written by Umetaro Azechi, a book that can be viewed on my website here. As for the different goals aspired to by members of the Shin Hanga and Sosaku Hanga movements, Tōshi Yoshida - first author of this classic book on Japanese woodblock techniques, and son of Hiroshi Yoshida - mentions that:

‘ ... it may be said that the modern (i.e. creative) print movement started as a drastic reaction to the decadence of the ukiyo-e, which had become overripe in technical skill but quite impoverished in artistic value.’

Later in his life, however, Tōshi Yoshida reverted to the Shin Hanga style of producing woodblock prints, as is witnessed by his prints ‘Monument Valley’ and ‘Ship Rock’ shown below.

The woodblock prints displayed on this webpage clearly point out my preference for the prints produced by the Shin Hanga artists, disregarding - I am afraid - those made by members of the Sosaku Hanga movement. I take the view that art should - at the very least - be based on professional craftmanship of the medium at hand.

To find out more about the Shin Hanga prints shown on this page - their size, publication date, provenance, enlargements, the English translation of the Japanese texts on each print, et cetera - click on any of the images shown below.



Goyo-thumbnail
Hashiguchi Goyō (1880-1921) - Woman combing her hair
Ito_Shinsui-thumbnail
Itō Shinsui (1898-1972) - Frosty morning
Tsunetomi-thumbnail
Kitano Tsunetomi (1880-1947) - The heroine Umekawa in ‘Meido no Hikyaku’
KawaseHasui(1)-thumbnail
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - Tengu Rock at Shiobara
KawaseHasui(2)-thumbnail
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - Full moon at Magome
KawaseHasui(1)-thumbnail
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - Senju Waterfall, Akame
Hasui(6)-thumbnail
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - Evening shower at Imai Bridge
Hasui Lake Kawaguchi thumbnail
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - Lake Kawaguchi
KawaseHasui(4)-thumbnail
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - Onshi Park, Shiba
Hasui Pagoda In Rain thumbnail
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - Pagoda in rain
  Hasui(5)-thumbnail
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - Autumn at Shiobara
HiroshiYoshida-thumbnail
Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) - Sailing boats: Morning
HiroshiYoshidaRapids-thumbnail
Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) - Rapids
CalmWind-thumbnail
Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) - Calm wind
  GlitteringSea-thumbnail
Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) - Glittering sea
 
ToshiYoshida-thumbnail
Tōshi Yoshida (1911-1995) - Monument Valley
Toshi Yoshida Yodo River thumbnail
Tōshi Yoshida (1911-1995) - Yodo River
ToshiYoshida-thumbnail
Tōshi Yoshida (1911-1995) - Ship Rock
KoitsuNaraKofukuji-thumbnail
Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870-1949) - Nara Kōfuku temple
Koitsu(3)-thumbnail
Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870-1949) - Matsushima
KoitsuNezuShrine-thumbnail
Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870-1949) - Nezu shrine
Koson Snow At Yanagibashi thumbnail
Ohara Koson (1877-1945) - Snow at Yanagibashi
  Shotei-thumbnail
Takahashi Shōtei (1871-1945) - Thunderstorm at Tateishi
Hakutei(1)-thumbnail
Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958) - Shibaura
Kotondo-thumbnail
Torii Kotondo (1900-1976) - Morning hair
Hakuho-thumbnail
Hirano Hakuhō (1879-1957) - Before the mirror
  Okada Yoshio-thumbnail
Okada Yoshio (1934) - Picture scroll of Genji: Wakana
 
Jacoulet La chenille verte Coree thumbnail
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960) - La chenille verte. Corée.
Jacoulet Retour d un banquet Coree Seoul thumbnail
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960) - Retour d’un banquet. Corée Seoul.
Jacoulet Le genie sans nom Coree thumbnail
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960) - Le génie sans nom. Corée.
  Jacoulet Beaute Japonaise moderne Kobe thumbnail
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960) - Beauté Japonaise Moderne. Kobé
 
Jacoulet Tempete du Coeur Seoul Coree thumbnail
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960) - Tempête du Coeur Séoul Corée
Jacoulet Le bol de lait Aino Hokkaido Japon thumbnail
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960) - Le bol de lait Aino_Hokkaido Japon
Jacoulet Fumees de santal Mandchoukuo thumbnail
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960) - Fumées de Santal Mandchoukuo
  Sugiyama(1)-thumbnail
Osamu Sugiyama (1946) - Climbing up along Snow Ridge
 


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