Research NavigationFind information on Ukiyo-e (Japanese Woodblock Printing)

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Ukiyo-e arose among middle classes in the Edo period. This gave a great impact on European artists in modern art. Ukiyo-e is regarded as the leading art of Japan now days and it is a subject of pleasure, collection and research. To learn more about Ukiyo-e, the best way is to look at various Ukiyo-e works. You will enjoy prosperous Ukiyo-e world more through learning more about its emergence and history.

Looking at Ukiyo-e by Database, Art Book, Original Work

  • Ukiyo-e Shūka (Ukiyo-e collection) [Shogakukan] (book)(In Japanese only)
    The finest Ukiyo-e works held by world prominent museums such as Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago and British Museum are available to view. 18 volumes in total.
  • Nikuhitsu Ukiyo-e Taikan ( General survey of original Ukiyo-e works) [Kodansha] (book)(In Japanese only)
    The book introduces original Ukiyo-e work including the ones never-exhibited before and these are held at nationally leading museums such as Tokyo National Museum, Idemitsu Museum of Art, MOA Museum of Art, etc. 10 volumes in total.

To search and learn about Ukiyo-e

There are various research tools to learn about Ukiyo-e. By enlarging scope from a material to reference and specialized materials, it helps to know more about Ukiyo-e in depth. Subject search with a word Ukiyo-e will give you more result to help.

To find and lean about Ukiyo-e

  • Genshoku Ukiyo-e Daihyakka Jiten (Grand encyclopedia of Ukiyo-e work with original color)  [Taishukan Publishing Co.,Ltd] (book)(In Japanese only)
    The largest encyclopedia of Ukiyo-e works. This contains the most important research result from “Nishikie no kaiin no kosho”, “Nishikie no hori to suri” written by Kendo Ishii. This consists of 11 volumes with topics of history, artist, style, publishers, genre, title, Ukiyo-e works (1-4), Kabuki, pleasure quarters. This is also rich collection of prominent Ukiyo-e works of various styles.
  • Ukiyo-e Daijiten (Encyclopedia of Ukiyo-e)  [Tokyodo Shuppan] (book)(In Japanese only)
    Widely contains about 1,600 Ukiyo-e topics such as artists, works, title, customs, manners, entertainment, etc. This encyclopedia contains the latest research results. Able to search items from artists’ family name, first name, pen name. List of seal of approval (kai-in) from 1790 to 1875 is available.
  • Ukiyo-e no Kansho Kiso Chishiki (Basic knowledge to view Ukiyo-e) [Shibundo] (book)(In Japanese only)
    A book compiled necessary basic knowledge to view Ukiyo-e works. This book contains good information including articles on interesting Ukiyo-e theme to grasp Ukiyo-e works by casual reading.
  • Ukiyoeshi Retsuden (A series of biographies of Ukiyo-e artists) [Bessatsu Taiyo/ Heibonsha] (book) (In Japanese only)
    Lists 57 Ukiyo-e artists who were active from early Edo to the end of Meiji era. The series introduces their visual Ukiyo-e arts including major lineage trees with chronology line of 276 artists.
  • Kabuki Nenpyou (Kabuki Chronology) [ Ihara Toshiro, Iwanami Shoten] (book) (In Japanese only)
    Record of Kabuki play performed in Kamigata (Edo) from the beginning of Edo to 40th of Meiji era (1907). This material is essential in considering Yakusha-e (Kabuki- actor pictures).
  • Kokon Haiyū Nigao Taizen (Portrait Book of Kabuki Actors of All time) [The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University] (book) (In Japanese only)
    This book compiles the greatest works of 320 actors’ portraitures from Genroku to the end of Edo era created by the Third Utagawa Toyokuni. This can be used as samples to compare real face with portrait on Ukiyo-e works. This is very useful material to figure who is the actor.
  • Ukiyo-e Geijutsu (Journal of the Japan Ukiyo-e Society) [International Ukiyo-e Society] (periodical)(written in both Japanese and English)
    Journal of International Ukiyo-e society which is the only academic society on Ukiyo-e in Japan. It is published biannually. Contains special topics, the latest research result, technology introduction, museum guide in addition to articles, description of Ukiyo-e materials, etc. Back issues are available on the official website.
  • Ukiyo-e Refarensu Jiten (Index to compete series of Ukiyo-e) [Nichigai Associates] (book)(In Japanese only)
    General Index search for 25,612 Ukiyo-e works listed in 353 books of major 73 art book titles. This also contains bibliographic data from 1,030 art collection books.

To find interpretation of Ukiyo-e works

  • Edo no Shibai-e o yomu (To view Shibai-e in Tokyo) [Yukio Hattori, Kodansha] (book)(In Japanese only)
    In addition to visual information from works, these are scientifically analyzed and examined with related publications such as playbills. This book verifies that Shibai-e (Yakusha-e: Kabuki actor pictures) was closely connected to actual Kabuki plays.
  • Hiroshige to Ukiyo-e fūkeiga (Hiroshige and Ukiyo-e landscape work) [Okubo Junichi, Tokyo University Press] (book)(In Japanese only)
    Hiroshige described image of popular places for people in Edo and became very popular. The book questions how his original landscape works, mixture of unreality and reality was produced. The author analyzes Hiroshige's techniques of space molding by means of perspective drawing.
  • Ukiyo-e wa kataru (Ukiyo-e talks) [Asano Shugou/ Kodansha Gendai Shinsho」(book)(In Japanese only)
    With the example of Bijin-ga (Beautiful-woman picture), Yakusha-e (Portrayals of actors) and Meisho-e (Landscape work) by Utamaro, Sharaku, Hokusai, etc, Ukiyo-e works are interpreted by referring related Ukiyo-e materials. Their techniques can be learned by tracing printing process of their works.

Research Navigation No.36-E Waseda University Library February.22.2018