During the Edo period (1603 – 1868 CE) prints of everyday life were mass-produced for popular consumption in Japan’s newly flourishing urban centres. They were from a genre, which also include paintings and drawings, called ukiyo-e 浮世絵, or ‘pictures of the floating world’, and are some of the most remarkable achievements of graphic art in Japan, if not the world. These prints would have been sold for little more than the price of a bowl noodles and included themes of well-known landscapes, famous beauties and popular actors and heroes of fiction and the wrestling ring.
The traditional production system of Japanese ukiyo-e prints involves the work of four people: artist, woodblock cutter, printer and publisher. Each is imbued with a deep sense of responsibility for his or her part in order to make the final outcome a success.