Laser-Cut Ukiyo-e of Ginza in the Rain

Miyakodori is a Tokyo-based print shop led by Takashi Kashiwagi. His great-grandfather was also a print-maker, and was involved in the Shin-Hanga movement around the turn of the century to revitalize ukiyo-e (woodblock prints). In keeping with his great-grandfather’s creative spirit of adapting to the times, Kashiwagi has spearheaded a new initiative in collaboration with contemporary illustrators to use laser cutters to carve woodblocks and create a new type of ukiyo-e. Borrowing from Japan’s new Reiwa era that began May 1, 2019, they’re calling it Reiwa Shin-Hanga.

The source illustration by Shinji Tsuchimochi: “Ginza at Night” (2019)

For their first laser-cut woodblock print, Miyakodori has teamed up with illustrator Shinji Tsuchimochi, an artist heavily influenced by ukiyo-e and who created 100 View of Tokyo as an homage to the art form.

Tsuchimochi created “Ginza at Night,” an illustration of one of Tokyo’s most iconic neighborhoods as it glistens in the rain. The famous Wako Building is in the background and a taxi cab can be seen splashing puddles as it drives through the intersection. This illustration was then laser-carved onto a woodblock: one for each different color.

Once the carvings were complete, it was then turned over to Shun Yamamoto, a print-maker at Miyakodori who was tasked with rendering the print onto high quality Echizen washi paper, and bringing all the details of the illustrator’s nostalgic creation to life. The resulting print is a wonderful collaboration between artists, craftspeople and technology.

The print can be purchased through Miyokodori’s online shop. The first edition (of which only 50 are made) is priced at 32,800 yen (or about $305 usd).

one of the laser-carved woodblocks of “Ginza at Night”
the final woodblock print “Ginza at Night”
the print-making process

2 Comments

  1. Hallo, would love to know more about the process on how the to laser engraving. Is there a video?
    Thanks
    sws

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