WHAT'S UKIYO-E PROJECT?

UKIYO-E PROJECT

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TO CONNECT THE WORLD THROUGH UKIYO-E

Ukiyo-e could disappear…
It is a sad fact that Ukiyo-e, the Japanese Traditional Woodblock Print art industry is diminishing every year.
In about 20 years or so, Ukiyo-e could disappear entirely.
Ukiyo-e is a Japanese treasure that originated in the early 1600s developing into a unique art form that requires 3 artisans to complete its style.
Being part of the French Japonism in the 1870s, when people around the world think of Japanese art, a lot images the art of Ukiyo-e.

Artisan are struggling…
The tradition and technique has been passed down after 400 years, and there are still Artisans who are certified as Ukiyo-e craftsmen with traditional technique.

9 Wood Carvers
30 Hand Printers
Although, the Craftsmen are seriously lacking work and it is becoming difficult to take disciples.
Just like any other industry, style and trends moves on to the next new thing and that we cannot stop.
But・・・

‘Ukiyo’ means ‘Now’ or ‘Current Life’
If the art is meant to capture the moments of “now”, then why don’t we create something that is modern just like the artists in Edo period did.
(About Ukiyo-e)

That is how we came up with the idea to collaborate with the artists and bring this traditional art form into the present day.

This is ‘UKIYO-E PROJECT’.

By collaborating with artists and pop icons of today, we can create relevant fine art using traditional Japanese techniques.

Hoping to help carry on this amazing culture…

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The purpose of UKIYO-E PROJECT is…

1) Preservation and revival of Ukiyo-e industry by creating new work for the artisans.
2) Global reintroduction of Ukiyo-e art form.

To do so, we are planning to collaborate with world-popular animation characters and celebrities such as professional athletes, singers, and movie stars. We will create Ukiyo-e with those well-known figures and promote them in the world market.

This will create more opportunities for the Ukiyo-e professionals and the new jobs will provide more resources for the training of successors.

We want not only to preserve this historical technique, which is designated as Japan’s “intangible cultural asset”, but also to spread the wonderful Japanese traditional art from Edo, current Tokyo to the world.

INTRODUCTION OF ARTISANS

Illustrator / 絵師
Masumi Ishikawa

Masumi Ishikawa

1978 Born in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo
2000 Became a disciple of Toyokuni Utagawa VI.
Due to the sudden death of Utagawa VI, he kept on pursuing to learn ‘Utagawa Style’ Ukiyo-e on his own. He has been active creating
various artworks and holding both his individual and group exhibitions
2007 Created Ukiyo-e for a movie ‘Miiyagino’ which featured Sharaku(1 of 4 Ukiyo-e Masters)

2010 Designed ‘Nihonbashi Karuta(Japanese alphabet card)’ as a part of Nihonbashi Renaissance 100 year Project
2011 Designed ‘Salon Du Chocolat’ limited edition box
2013 Designed Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi‘Japan Senses’ summer/fall
2014 First solo exhibition ‘Fable of the Deepest World’ at Beams Gallery in Shinjuku
2015 Became the first Ukiyo-e Illustrator for the UKIYO-E PROJECT and announced KISS Ukiyo-e

“As an Illustrator and a fan of Ukiyo-e, I’m thrilled to be part of this amazing process of Japanese woodblock printing. I hope to contribute to this project by creating meaningful pieces and helping the Ukiyo-e industry pass down this incredible tradition to the next generation.”

Woodcarver / 彫師
Kazuo Watanabe

Kazuo Watanabe

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry certified Edo Woodblock Traditional Craftsman
Ukiyo-e Woodblock Engravers Technique Preservation Association President
(The association has been certified to intangible cultural heritage selected conservation technology of the Agency for Cultural Affairs.)

 

1945 Born in Ibaraki Prefecture.
1960s Started training with Edo Woodblock Carver Hanbei Ookura. After 6 years, he became a professional Edo woodblock carver and been carving over 50 years.
1991 Demonstrated wood carving at JAPAN WEEK held in Essonne, France.
1992 Presented woodblock art at the exhibition during the Japanese Emperor Royal visit.
2010 Certified as the Edo Woodblock Traditional Craftsman. He is now one of the top Ukiyoe Woodblock carver and has expanded his skill to carve contemporary woodblock pieces as well.

Senrei Sekioka  the 3rd. (Real name: Yusuke Sekioka)

Senrei Sekioka (Yusuke Sekioka)

1957 Born in Tokyo, lives in Arakawa-ku.
1976 Although he was born in the ‘hand printer’ family, his father Senrei the 2nd suggested for him to become a Woodcarver. Started
training with the master Hanbei Ookura at the age of 19.
2013 Succeeded ‘Senrei the 3rd’ in October.


For almost 40 years, he has been carving. He is one of the highest skilled woodcarvers in the world. Not only can he carve perfectly along the outlines but also supplements the lines that the original illustration had. He has worked on many classic Ukiyo-e and challenges himself to work on modern designs as well. He actively accepts disciples to pass on this amazing Japanese traditional technique.

Hand printer / 摺師
Hideo Yoshida

Hideo Yoshida

The Agency for Cultural Affairs of the intangible cultural heritage selected conservation technology certified craftsman.
1939 Born in Ibaraki Prefecture.
1954 Started training with Yoshiaki Watanabe (Kazuo’s father). Ever since then, he has been creating pieces with Mr.Watanabe as the Hand Printer of Watanabe Mokuhan.