Tag Archives: ukiyoe

Review & Giveaway 15: Japan Journeys

18 Apr

Here is another book that Tuttle Books have kindly given to me to review and, again, they have agreed to give (given) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

(Click here to read all of my reviews and giveaways.)

This book is titled “Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan” by Andreas Marks.

“Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan”

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan” is a hardcover book full of large, beautiful pictures of all kinds of ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints).

Mr. Marks is a historian of Japanese and Korean art and he gives explanations of the prints that show famous sights around Tokyo, Kyoto and other parts of Japan.

I have been to many of the places shown in these prints and it’s fun to see them depicted in artwork that is sometimes centuries old.

This book would be treasured by anyone interested in Japan, Japanese ukiyoe art, or artwork in general!

Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (given) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

To enter the drawing for the free book, submit this form by 2015 May 10th:

***** Updated May 10th, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 May 10th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

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KISS in Japanese art

27 Feb

The American rock band KISS are currently on tour in Japan.
(I wrote a post about their Japan tour of 2015 here.)

KISS are doing many unique, only-in-Japan promotions while they are here.
Among them is the 「KISS激辛チリトマトまん」 (“KISS Spicy Chili Tomato Buns”):

Available in Japan now for a limited time!

These are delicious! If you’re in Japan, try them!  They were first available in Japan when KISS toured here in 2013.  Here’s the similar ad that was run then:

They were introduced to Japan in October 2013.

Now, KISS has commissioned Japanese artists to make unique artwork that combines KISS’s Japan-inspired images with traditional Japanese art:

A professional Japanese 書道 (calligraphy) artist wrote the KISS logo and the band members’ personas in Japanese kanji. (They were signed by the band members too).

A professional Japanese 浮世絵 (ukiyoe woodblock print) artist made two prints showing the KISS band members as samurai in one, and samurai battling Japanese monsters in the other.

Here is a YouTube video showing the ukiyoe artist carving the woodblock to make the KISS ukiyoe prints:

Review 6: Hokusai Prints Origami Paper

29 Sep

Tuttle Publishers has given two sets of origami papers with ukiyoe prints to review.

(You can read all of the reviews on my blog by going to my ““Reviews & Giveaways” page).

One set has prints by Hiroshige and a set by Hokusai.

The publishers have kindly agreed to give (given) a set of each free to one random visitor to my blog!

To enter the drawing for the “Origami Paper: Hiroshige Prints“, click here.

The set that I’m writing about on this post is “Origami Paper: Hokusai Prints“.

hokusai

This set is similar to the other set except the papers are larger (these are 8 ¼ inches), and the prints are by the ukiyoe master Hokusai who has painted the famous “Great Wave near Kanagawa” ukiyoe print.

You can buy “Origami Paper: Hokusai Printshere.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Publishers is going to give (gave) one free set of this origami paper to a random visitor to my blog!

To enter in the drawing, simply submit this form by 2014 October 11th:

***** Updated October 11th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 October 11th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free origami set.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Review 5: Hiroshige Prints Origami Paper

29 Sep

This is the fifth in my series of reviews for Tuttle Publishers.

This time it’s not a book, but origami paper with famous ukiyoe prints.  And, once again, Tuttle Publishers will kindly be giving (gave away) one free set of these papers to a random visitor to my blog!

The details about the giveaway will be at the end of this post.

Do you like origami? Are you interested in Japanese ukiyoe woodblock prints? How about traditional Japanese culture? Or even art in general?
If so, then you will certainly like “Origami Paper: Hiroshige Prints“!

hiroshige

This set contains forty-eight 6¾ inch origami papers printed with famous ukiyoe artwork by the master ukiyoe artist Hiroshige.

It also comes with an instruction sheet explaining how to fold six things such as the iconic “paper crane”.

You can buy “Origami Paper: Hiroshige Printshere.

But, as I said above, one random visitor to my blog will receive (received) this origami set directly from the publisher.

To enter in the drawing, simply submit this form by 2014 October 11th:

***** Updated October 11th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 October 11th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free origami set.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Book review & giveaway 3: Ukiyo-e; The Art of the Japanese Print

10 Sep

I have reviewed some books from Tuttle Publishing (One about Japanese Architecture and another was a Japanese language study tool) and they gave a free copy of each book to random visitors to my blog.

Now, Tuttle Publishing has given me two more books to review on my blog here…and, once again, they will be giving (gave) one free copy of each book to a random visitor of my blog!

The next book that I will be reviewing is titled “Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print” by Frederick Harris.

ukiyoe

The details of the book giveaway will be at the end of this review.

The author, Mr. Harris, is an expert on ukiyoe. He has been living in Tokyo for over fifty years and has an art studio here.

This book will appeal to anyone who’s interested in traditional Japanese culture (even if you don’t know about Japanese woodblock prints), interested in ukiyoe (whether you don’t know much about the art or you’re very knowledgeable on the subject), or interested in art in general.

As for me, I’m interested in ukiyoe (I’ve written a few “ukiyoe-related” posts, including this one).

I especially like ukiyoe pictures of Japanese monsters. So, I was a bit disappointed that this book doesn’t have more information and photos of this particular type of ukiyoe.
But, I guess that’s to be expected since woodblock paintings of monsters aren’t nearly as popular as other subjects.

That’s a minor issue anyways, because this is an excellent and comprehensive book.

It is a large, hardcover book full of beautiful photos of all types and styles of ukiyoe prints. It also explains the meaning of the details in the artwork. The hairstyles, types of kimono worn, etc all have meanings!
The book also explains the incredible work and effort that is required to make a ukiyoe painting.
As well as, how to care for a print if you decide to start your own collection.

It’s a wonderful book.

I must mention one thing that could potentially make you rethink adding this book to your collection:
It contains one 10-page chapter of very explicit ukiyoe prints.

Just like artists in any culture or era, many ukiyoe artist often freelanced to earn a living.
They would often design posters and flyers to be used as advertisements for upcoming kabuki shows or sumo matches, as well as do private portraits…and sometimes p○rn0gr@phy (intentionally misspelled by me to avoid attracting spam).

To tell the truth, I was a bit taken aback by the inclusion of this chapter. I knew this type of ukiyoe existed, but I’ve never seen them included in a ukiyoe book or exhibit.

Because these photos are included, I don’t recommend this book where children would access it…such as a school art class and such. But, for adults who don’t mind explicit artwork, I do recommend this book.

Outside of that one chapter, the rest of the photos are the more “common” ukiyoe subjects: geisha, sumo, kabuki, nature, etc.

Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print” can be purchased through Amazon here.

As I mentioned above though, the publisher has kindly agreed to give (given) away one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

To enter the drawing for a chance to win the free book, simply submit the following form by Saturday, 2014 September 27th:

***** Updated September 28th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 September 27th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Did you know that catfish cause earthquakes?

20 Mar

About nine months ago I wrote a post about a Japanese folklore character called a “Kappa” which is meant to scare children from playing to close to bodies of water where they may drown.

Signs in Japan warning children to stay away from a river or lake almost always have a picture of a Kappa.

But there is another folklore character that is found in warning signs in Japan today. The 鯰 (catfish).

Long ago in Japan it was said that earthquakes were caused by a giant sleeping catfish who lived under the ground when it woke up and began it thrash around.

 

A 浮世絵 (woodblock print) of a god stopping the catfish from causing an earthquake.

So, in Japan today, even though no one actually believes that earthquakes are caused by catfish, signs for earthquake evacuation shelters, earthquake evacuation routes and earthquake safety usually have a picture of a catfish.

 

A roadsign in Japan for an earthquake emergency road.

 

It says: "It's an earthquake! We support you and your families safety with earthquake evacuation"

Even though no one believes the folklore legend about the giant catfish underground causing earthquakes, many people do believe that catfish act peculiar just before an earthquake strikes…and this is where the folklore story may have originated from.

Japan’s first train station

10 Feb

Outside of the JR新橋駅 (JR Shinbashi train station) in Tokyo there is a steam locomotive.

This is because Shinbashi Station was the first train station in Japan. It was built in 1872 and at that time trains were powered by steam.

The steam locomotive is outside of JR新橋駅 (JR Shinbashi train station) but that’s not where the first station stood. It’s near the same site…but not exactly.

A ukiyoe painting of the first train station in Japan by Hiroshige

In April 2003 a replica of the original Shinbashi Station was built as a monument and also as a small museum of the history of Japan’s rail service.

It’s called 「旧新橋停車場」 (“Former Shinbashi Train Depot”).

We went there last Sunday because the 「旧新橋停車場」 (“Former Shinbashi Train Depot” (or “Old Shinbashi Station”)) is currently exhibiting photos taken of Tokyo decades ago by Koyo Ishibashi.

Click here to read a post that I wrote about that exhibition.

 

「旧新橋停車場」 ("Old Shinbashi Station")

It’s an interesting place to see if you’re in Tokyo. Admission is free and if you go before 2011 March 21 you can see Mr. Ishikawa’s excellent photos there too.

After we left 「旧新橋停車場」 (“Old Shinbashi Station”) we walked around the 新橋 (Shinbashi) area of Tokyo.

Tokyo utilizes all space available...restaurants and shops can often be found under train overpasses. This one has a street sign telling cars that the clearance of this narrow road is 2.1 meters

More restaurants under the train overpass

I've never eaten at the "Budweiser Carnaval", but supposedly the waitresses there wear tight "Budweiser" mini-dresses.