Tag Archives: woodblock prints

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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Claude Monet art exhibit in Tokyo

10 Jan

I’m not an expert on art by any means.

My tastes might be considered “low brow”.
I listen to heavy metal music, my favorite TV shows aren’t really educational or anything, and I don’t see the appeal of “over-rated” movies such as “Lost In Translation“, “Forrest Gump” and “The Lord Of The Rings“…those movies were all boring to me.
The movies I like are more exciting.

And I don’t feel comfortable eating in “four star” fancy restaurants…I prefer a simple 「居酒屋」 (Japanese izakaya “blue collar” type restaurant).

Even though I may be a “simple man” I can appreciate art sometimes.
I have never attended an opera or even a musical on stage, but I have watched 歌舞伎 (Kabuki) plays and sometimes I go to art exhibits at museums.

I have seen a number of 浮世絵 (Ukiyoe Japanese woodblock prints) exhibits…and yesterday, my wife and I went to 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo) to see the 「モネとジヴェルニーの画家たち」 (“Claude Monet and the Giverny Artists”) exhibit.

It’s at the “Bunkamura Museum” in Shibuya, Tokyo until 2011 February 17th.

I learned that Claude Monet moved to a tiny French village called Giverny and painted the natural views that he saw there. And his work inspired many artists from other countries, but the vast majority were Americans, to go to Giverny and set up an “artist colony” there to learn from Monet.

Also, Monet was inspired by Japanese art (other famous Western artists, including Vincent Van Gogh, were too) and he had a collection of Japanese Ukiyoe prints.

Monet's painting of his wife in Japanese kimono.

Monet's painting of his garden in Giverny, France.

Monet's painting of a hay stack.

 

Are you interested in art? Monet? Ukiyoe?
How about your taste in food, movies, music, etc?

新版画

3 Nov

Today I went to the 「よみがえる浮世絵 -うるわしき大正新版画」特別展覧会 (Taisho-era Shin-hanga Ukiyo-e Prints Special Exhibit) at the 「江戸東京博物館」 (“Edo-Tokyo Museum“).

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I like Japanese 浮世絵 (Ukiyo-e woodblock print) art. I have a few posts about exhibits I’ve seen before (click here to read one I wrote almost exactly twelve months ago).

But this exhibit was different.

Traditional 浮世絵 (woodblock print) art was done from the 江戸時代 (Edo era (17th – mid 19th centuries)) until the 明治時代 (Meiji era (1868 – 1912 (Japan’s modernization period))).

During the 明治時代 (Meiji era), traditional arts such as 浮世絵 (woodblock prints) began losing popularity because they were seen as dated and old-fashioned…and Japan was in a rush to “modernize” during this period.

But, ironically, while Japanese people were losing interest in 浮世絵 (woodblock prints), they were becoming chic and popular in America and Europe during these years.

So during Japan’s 大正時代 (Taisho era (1912 – 1926)) until the first half of the 昭和時代 (Showa era (1926 – 1989), a new, modern style of 浮世絵 (woodblock prints) emerged.
They’re called 「新版画」 (“Shin-hanga“…or “New style prints”).

Due to the popularity of 新版画 (Shin-hanga) in America and Europe during these years, many American and European artists came to Tokyo to learn the art of 新版画 (Shin-hanga) from the “masters”.
So the exhibit that I went to today had art by Japanese 新版画 (Shin-hanga) artists…as well as Japanese-style Shin-hanga prints by American and European artists.
It was very interesting!

Unfortunately after World War II, Japanese society changed alot and now there are very few 浮世絵 (ukiyo-e) or 新版画 (shin-hanga) artists today.

But there is good news, it seems that 新版画 (Shin-hanga) is currently becoming popular again both in Japan and overseas…so maybe more artists will study the craft and keep this tradition alive.

「増上寺の雪」 ("Zojoji Temple in Snow") by Kawase Hasui (昭和28年 (1953))

「増上寺の雪」 ("Zojoji Temple in Snow") by Kawase Hasui (昭和28年 (1953))

shinhanga-tokyo_tower

「東京タワー」 ("Tokyo Tower") by Kasamatsu Shiro (昭和34年 (1959))

shinhanga-ryogoku_bashi

「両国橋」 ("Ryogoku Bridge") by French artist Noel Nouet (昭和11年 (1936))

写楽

1 Sep

Today I went to a 特別展 (special exhibit) at the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) titled: 「写楽幻の肉筆画」 (“SHARAKU and Other Hidden Japanese Masterworks from the Land of Narsicaa”).

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This is a collection of Japanese 浮世絵 (woodblock prints) and paintings that were collected by Greek art collectors (mostly the Greek Ambassador to Japan) about 100 years ago.

It seems that records were not kept in Japan about the most of the pieces and even some of the artists. So, when Japanese art scholars learned of these pieces in an art museum in Greece they were very excited and arranged for an exhibit of the pieces back in their “home” (Japan).

This 特別展 (special exhibit) ends next Sunday (2009 Sept 6).

byoubu

kiku

uta1

Woodblock prints like this were sometimes used to to decorate 扇子 (Japanese fans)

Woodblock prints like this were sometimes used to to decorate 扇子 (Japanese fans)

The 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) is next to the 国技館 (Tokyo Sumo Arena).
Here’s a sign advertising an upcoming Sumo tournament:

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