Thursday? I think you mean Ukiyo-E-Day!

Kasamatsu Shiro; I would guess that you’ve never heard of him.  Until this morning, neither had I. And yet, I think I’ve never seen better Ukiyo-e (the Japanese art of woodblock printing), even from masters like Taiso and Hokusai. After some research and some culling of the many images available, I’m ready to share some of his work with you.

Prepare yourself for wonderfully atmospheric Ukiyo-e by Kasamatsu Shiro.  His printmaking style reminds me a lot of Ivan Bilibin’s, strangely!


Kasamatsu Shiro, Snow at Yomei Gate, 1952

Kasamatsu_Yushima Tenjin Shrine in Spring Rain-1935

Kasamatsu Shiro, Yushima Tenjin Shrine in Spring Rain, 1935

Kasamatsu_The Ginza on a Spring Night-1934

Kasamatsu Shiro, The Ginza on a Spring Night, 1934

Kasamatsu_Shiro-Ferry in Edogawa Imai-1952Kasamatsu Shiro, Ferry in Edogawa Imai, 1952

Kasamatsu_Shiro-Evening Rain, Shinobazu Pond-1938Kasamatsu Shiro, Evening Rain, Shinobazu Pond, 1938

Kasamatsu_Morning Waves-1956Kasamatsu Shiro, Morning Waves, 1956

For me, Shiro’s work transcends the muddiness and over-stylization of earlier Ukiyo-e, and becomes its own viewpoint.  I come away from these prints with fresh eyes for the real world, noticing light in different ways and sensitized to the world’s patterns.

Kasamatsu_Shinshu Hotsprings-Shubu-1948

Kasamatsu Shiro, Shinshu Hotsprings, 1948

Kasamatsu_Imai Bridge_1939

Kasamatsu Shiro, Imai Bridge, 1948

Kasamatsu_House at Ontake_1954

Kasamatsu Shiro, House at Ontake, 1954

It feels like Shiro is taking an Impressionist’s approach to color and value, with an Eastern use of line and composition. The following three prints are my new favorite pieces of Ukiyo-e.

Kasamatsu_Akirimachi, Itoigawa-1948

Kasamatsu Shiro, Akirimachi, Itoigawa, 1948

Kasamatsu_Gate at Enkaku Temple, Kamakura-1954

Kasamatsu Shiro, Akirimachi, Itoigawa, 1948

Kasamatsu_Bamboo in Summer_1954

Kasamatsu Shiro, Summer Bamboo, 1954

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