Online Event Hosted by the Embassy of Japan


Reviving Yoshitoshi’s Moon: Restoration, Reprint & The Last Great Master of Ukiyo-e Woodblock Printing

Thursday 18 March 2021, 1pm (GMT)
Online Talk, via Zoom
Register here

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) is referred to as one of the ‘last masters of ukiyo-e’ woodblock prints. His career spanned a period in which woodblock gradually gave way to new forms of print technology such as lithography – a result of the opening of the country in the Meiji period. His work explored a wide range of themes, including a series named “One Hundred Aspects of the Moon”. Although much of international attention on ukiyo-e artists has focused on the works of Hokusai and Hiroshige, there is a growing interest in the works of Yoshitoshi, both in Japan and internationally.
Very few of the woodblocks used to print ukiyo-e have survived to the present day, and so preservation of the techniques used by Edo period craftspeople is largely intangible: preserved through the training of successive printers rather than through the preservation of the woodblocks themselves. However, Takahashi Kobo, a 160 year old ukiyo-e woodblock print workshop in Tokyo, have been working with rare woodblocks used in an early reproduction of the series "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon" by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, as part of their ongoing efforts to preserve traditional techniques of ukiyo-e printing. The restoration process has uncovered techniques used that are not immediately obvious upon viewing the printed works.
In this online event Yukiko Takahashi of Takahashi Kobo will be in conversation with Dr Alfred Haft, Curator in the Department of Asia at the British Museum, to explore the significance of preserving the techniques used in Yoshitoshi’s prints. The event will begin discussing the works of Yoshitoshi, followed by demonstrations of the restoration and printing process. Prints from “One Hundred Aspects of the Moon” will then be examined in detail, casting light on their importance as artworks, and in so doing revealing why Yoshitoshi is known as one of the last great ukiyo-e artists.


Yukiko Takahashi is the sixth-generation head of Takahashi Kobo, which was founded 160 years ago during the Ansei Era. The workshop has been producing traditional woodblock prints using methods unchanged since the company was formed. In their Tokyo-based workshop, the company produces faithful reproductions of ukiyo-e woodblock prints, contemporary artworks alongside researching and preserving the techniques of woodblock printing.
Alfred Haft is a curator in the Department of Asia at the British Museum. He has published on various aspects of Japanese prints and print history, including "Hokusai and Tokugawa Society", in Timothy Clark, ed., "Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave" and "Aesthetic Strategies of the Floating World: Mitate, Yatsushi and Fūryū in Early Modern Japanese Popular Culture". He holds a PHD in Art and Archaeology from SOAS, University of London.

To book a place for this online event, visit the registration page.