Modern Woodblock Prints in the Afterglow of Hiroshige

Exhibit Period

May 20 (Thursday) – June 27 (Sunday), 2004

Exhibit Times

9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(last admissions at 4:30 p.m.)

Museum closed

Mondays, and the day following a holiday (except when this falls on a Saturday or Sunday)

Admission Fee

Adults: 500yen High School, College Students: 300yen Elementary, Junior High School Students: 100yen (Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more, the handicapped and the elderly)


Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) is known as the master of the landscape print. Hiroshige’s landscapes lyrically reflect the workings of the unfolding four seasons of nature, incorporating weather, time and space into the picture’s composition as main elements. However, with the coming of the Meiji Period, the nishiki-e color print is replaced by new media like photography and lithography, and ukiyo-e art suddenly declines and dies out. In its place, artists do all of the work of the so-called woodblock printing method, from drawing to engraving and printing, a comprehensive technique that was called sosaku hanga.
However, as Japan entered the Taisho Period, ukiyo-e art was given a second look. A new kind woodblock print—“Shin Hanga” (the “new woodblock print”) was advocated as the new ukiyo-e, with the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo taking a central role. The lumping together of work by the artists was rethought, and the work was divided up between the artists, the engravers and the printers as in the days of ukiyo-e. The subjects of the prints were also those known from the past—actors, beautiful women, and landscapes. New artists Hashiguchi Goyo, Ito Shinsui, Yamamura Koka, Kawase Hasui and others appeared on the scene as representatives of a new generation of Japanese artists.
In this exhibit, we introduce the artwork of those active in the ukiyo-e art world from Utagawa Hiroshige in the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate—to Ito Shinsui, Kawase Hasui and others—comparing and contrasting the woodblock print as it made the transition from nishiki-e to shin hanga.

Museum Talk

Presented by one of our curators
Saturday, May 22, 2004; Saturday, June 12, 2004;
Saturday, June 19, 2004; all talks begin at 1:30 p.m.


“An Introduction to Ukiyo-e”

Shindo Shigeru, managing director, International Ukiyo-e Society
Saturday, June 5, 2004; from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.