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Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print presented by artist and collector Frederick Harris.

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The art of Japanese woodblock printing, known as ukiyo-e ("pictures of the floating world"), reflects the rich history and way of life in Japan hundreds of years ago. Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print takes a thematic approach to this iconic Japanese art form, considering prints by subject matter: geisha and courtesans, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, erotica, nature, historical subjects and even images of foreigners in Japan.

An artist himself, author Frederick Harris - a well-known American collector who lived in Japan for 50 years - pays special attention to the methods and materials employed in Japanese printmaking. The book traces the evolution of ukiyo-e from its origins in metropolitan Edo (Tokyo) art culture as black and white illustrations to delicate two-colour prints and multicoloured designs. Advice to admirers on how to collect, care for, view and buy Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints rounds out this book of charming, carefully selected prints.


"I was immediately drawn to this handsome book, and my expectation of a fine journey into the floating world pictures became fulfilled. First, the colour reproductions of Frederick Harris's high-quality choices give a good sense of the way woodblock prints appear in life. Second, his writing is clear, welcoming, deeply informed, and well organized. The stated aim of Frederick Harris was to appeal to a new generation of art lovers and collectors. He appears to have hit the target. This is a wonderfully worthy effort and result—a true labour of love." - Maine Antique Digest

"A unique book on Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and one that is essential reading for all collectors, cultural historians and anyone intrigued by this endlessly fascinating subject!" - Peter Grilli, President, Japan Society of Boston

"This is a fine and passionate contribution to the vast literature on the Japanese print." - Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Guggenheim Museum

"Created by an artist and interior designer, Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print directly reflects the sensitive eye and professional polish of its author." - Kendall H. Brown, Professor of Asian Art History, California State University, Long Beach

"An excellent book for someone just first getting into Japanese prints…[Goes into fuller detail than many other books do as to the block-carving and printing process itself, including brilliant photos of the chisels and baren and how they were used, and of a key block and its resulting printed image, visually demonstrating the process beautifully," - Nubui Kuduchi blog

"This book will appeal to anyone who's interested in traditional Japanese culture." - Tokyo 5 blog

"Illustrated with only the choicest selections, Harris's book arranges them by subject rather than chronology or artist, breaking down what can be a very confusing area of work, and highlighting the key issues and players" - Tokyo Jinja blog

About the Author:


Photo: Irwin Wong

Frederick Harris (1932-2010) was an artist who lived in Japan for over fifty years. Raised in New York City, he attended a special high school for students talented in art and music before pursuing further art education at various colleges in the United States. At the Art Students League, he was introduced to the Japanese woodblock print by the well-known printmaker Martin Lewis. After serving in the armed forces in Korea, he moved to Japan to establish an art studio in Tokyo where he resided with his Japanese wife. He also served as the president of the Tokyo American Club.

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Frederick Harris
Tuttle Publishing
Year of publication
10 April 2011
Number of pages
JPY 3,410

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