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The Unfinished Print

Dec 24, 2022

The importance of passion cannot be understated.  It can be a wonderful and beautiful thing, and if it's made into a positive part of not only one's own life but for others as well; it's a passion worth pursuing. 

On this episode of The Unfinished Print I speak with mokuhanga collector, scholar and instructor, Carol Dorman. Having seen her work and lectures with the Japan Foundation Toronto, on various topics on ukiyo-e history and culture, I found her knowledge and story to be of great interest.

I speak with Carol about her journey from working at the CBC for the national news, to working side by side with Stuart Jackson, a mokuhanga gallery owner here in Toronto. Carol speaks on her love of the ukiyo-e period of Japanese woodblock prints, her collecting, how that world has changed dramatically during her time at The Stuart Jackson Gallery, and we discuss her work at the LIFE Institute of Toronto where she teaches and instructs age 50+ students about ukiyo-e history. 

Please follow The Unfinished Print and my own mokuhanga work on Instagram @andrezadoroznyprints or email me at 

Notes: may contain a hyperlink. Simply click on the highlighted word or phrase.

Artists works follow after the note. Pieces are mokuhanga unless otherwise noted.

Regina, Saskatchewan - is the capital of the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan. Located on the land of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakota, Lakota, and Métis peoples, it is the 16th most populace city in Canada.  The city has many restaurants, museums, and other places of interest. More info can be found at Tourism Regina, here

University of Toronto -  considered a public research university, U of T is located in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and was founded in 1827. It has educated any number of famous Canadian authors, scientists, politicians, and the like. More info, here

Stuart Jackson Gallery - is a ukiyo-e specific gallery located at 882 Queen Street W. in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It has been doing business in Toronto for almost fifty years. More info, here

The Royal Ontario Museum - also known as The ROM, is an art, world culture, and natural history museum in the city of Toronto, and is one of the oldest museums in the city. More info, here

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - also known as the CBC, is a Canadian Federal Crown corporation and is the oldest broadcasting network in Canada. Founded in 1936, the CBC broadcasts news, original programming, and sports throughout Canada and the world. They broadcast via various digital platforms as well as terrestrial platforms such as television and radio.  More info, here.

Meiji Period of Japan (1868-1912)- the Meiji Period in Japanese history is synonymous with turmoil and regime change. The Meiji Period is named after Prince Mutsuhito (1852-1912), who became Emperor after his fathers death, Emperor Kōmei (1846-1867). Mutsuhito’s reign came at the end of the Keiō Era, (1865-1868), until his own death in 1912. 
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) - is considered one of the last “masters” of the ukiyo-e genre of Japanese woodblock printmaking. His designs range from landscapes, samurai and Chinese military heroes, as well as using various formats for his designs such as diptychs and triptychs. 
Tsuzoku Suikoden Goketsu Hyakuhachi-nin no Hitori (津属水滸伝後けつ百八人にの一人 ca. 1827)
Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) - arguably one of the more important woodblock print designers, Kunisada designed many types of prints, from landscape, books, erotica, sumo etc.  Kunisada worked during the period of ukiyo-e history with Andō Hiroshige (1797-1858), Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), and the above mentioned Kuniyoshi. Defintely a rich and abundant period in Japanese woodblock print history. 
Oni Azami Seikichi (鬼あざみ清吉) 1859
Yorkville, Toronto - Yorkville is a neighbourhood located in the heart of Toronto. It has a rich history, politically and culturally. It has become a high end neighbourhood in the city, with many expensive shops,  luxury homes and condos. It is famous for once being the hotbed of folk music in the world, outside of New York City, in the 1960’s. Performers such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan amongst others performed in the various clubs in the neighbourhood. 
2008 Financial Crisis - was a world wide financial crisis which started in 2007 and lasted throughout 2008 and onwards. This crisis affected housing, mortgages, the automotive industry, and world economic markets. 
David Kutcher is the owner and operator of Moonlit Sea Prints, located in Easthampton, Massachusetts. His interview with The Unfinished Print can be found, here
Fading of Japanese woodblock prints - certain colours, especialy in ukiyo-e period prints (beni), are known to fade over time. Since pigments in mokuhanga are generally water based, they will fade naturally, but more quickly if located near sunlight. There are many reasons why your print will fade, so the website Viewing Japanese Prints has written a fine article regarding those very reasons, amongst other ways you can protect your mokuhanga collection. You can find that article, here
The Kentler International Drawing Space - is an art gallery located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York. It has hosted several mokuhanga centred exhibitions. The most recent was Between Worlds as hosted by The Mokuhanga Sisters, from July 17 - July 31, 2022. More info, here
Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY - is a neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York. Once called South Brooklyn and once an industrial area, Red Hook has evolved over time to house many New Yorkers who are looking to be close to Manhattan and still be able to afford a home. There is a great New York Times article, here, which explores the history of this fascinating area. 
Doi Hangaten -  is a mokuhanga print publisher located in Tōkyō, Japan. Once a publisher of prints associated with the shin-hanga movement of the ealry twentieth century, the company continues to publish reproductions of famous Japanese prints, in the old ways. Most recently, the Doi family have collaborated with David Bull and Mokuhankan to publish new verions of some of the old blocks from almost 100 years ago. More info about the Doi Hangaten can be found here, here and here. The collaboration videos produced by Mokuhankan regarding the Doi family and the subsequant collaboration can be found, here
LIFE Institute - is a learning facility for adults age 50+.  The LIFE Institute began in 1991, and has a membership of 2500 today. The institute offers high quality education in the Arts, Humanities, Science and Technology, amongst others. Courses are conducted in person or online. More info can be found, here
The National Gallery of Art - is a free art gallery located in Washington D.C. Founded by financier Andrew W. Mellon. The West building was constructed in 1941. The gallery houses more than 150,000 pieces of art and is dedicated to education and culture. More info can be found, here
Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800) - was a Japanese painter who painted in silk. His work can be seen in scrolls (kakemono), sliding doors (fusuma), and folding screens (byōbu). Known for his wild style of painting, Jackuchū’s most popular theme is of birds. There are many books wirtten about Jackuchū and his life and times. More info can be found, here , to get you started. 
Rooster (18th Century)
Nishiki-e (錦絵) - is the Japanese phrase for colour woodblock prints, otherwise known as brocade pictures. 
Ogata Gekkō (1859-1920) - was a painter, illustrator and mokuhanga designer. Gekkō’s work has a delightful water colour style, where the subjects seem to be floating and light, regardless of whether the subject is a beautiful woman or a ghostly fox. Gekkō's subject matter ranged from landscapes, to mythology. Ogata Gekkō had a full career, from working with many publishers for his print designs to founding various art associations. More information about the life and career of Ogata Gekkō can be found, here, on David Humphries’ fantastic website about the artist. 
Drawing Water from Yoro Waterfall — 養老孝子瀧を汲の図 (1896)
Prussian Blue - is a dark blue pigment, which has been used by painters, and mokuhanga printmakers. The pigment has been used in Europe since the 18th Century, and in Japan since around 1820, having been imported by Europeans into Japan. 
Evolution of Pigments in Mokuhanga - the evolution of pigments in mokuhanga began with hand painting in the later 17th Century, to the multi coloured prints of ukiyo-e, shin hanga, and sōsaku hanga. More info regarding the pigment evolution can be found, here, at the Library of Congress. 
The Japan Foundation - is a not for profit organization established in 1972, with many offices located around the world. The Japan Foundation Toronto has been active in the city since 1990. More info, here for the JF worldwide, and here for Toronto. 
Elizabeth Forrest - is an award-winning Canadian artist and mokuhanga prinmaker. She has been producing mokuhanga since the late 1980’s when she lived and studied in Kyoto. She has studied with the late Akira Kurosaki (1937-2019).  More info about Elizabeth’s work can be found, here
And It Began To Rain (2014)
Akira Kurosaki 黒崎彰 (1937-2019) - one of the most influential woodblock print artists of the modern era. His work, while seemingly abstract, moved people with its vibrant colour and powerful composition. He was a teacher and invented the “Disc Baren,” which is a great baren to begin your mokuhanga journey with. At the 2021 Mokuhanga Conference in Nara, Japan there was a tribute exhibit of his life works. Azusa Gallery has a nice selection of his work, here.
Taurus (1973)
Barbara Wybou - is a Canadian mokuhanga artists who lived, worked, and studied in Japan for twenty years. Her home these days is Toronto where she continues to work on her mokuhanga. Notably she studied with the late Tōshi Yoshida (1911-1995). Her work can be found, here
Rats 3
Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) -  was a Japanese woodblock designer of the Utagawa School of artists. His work flourished in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) of Japanese history, a period of immense change politically, economically, and industrially. Some of Kunichika’s works can be found, here
Onoe Kikugorō V as The British Spencer (1894)
War prints & Japanese Imperialism - as Japan entered the Pacific Theatre of war (1941-1945) with the United States, the fascist military government had complete power in Japan at the time, and used woodblock prints, as well as other mediums such as lithography and photography, to propagandize their war effort. Printmakers such as Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) even got involved in producing prints that helped the war effort. He designed several war prints during this time period. Prints such as The Red Setting Sun, is a prime example of how the times and aesthetic show a relatively innocuous scene of figures (Japanese soldiers) riding on horses with a setting sun back drop. For more detailed information regarding war time prints I suggest, Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, ed. Philip K. Hu w/ Rhiannon Paget, and The Politics of Painting by Asato Ikeda. My interview with Rhiannon Paget PhD can be found, here
Russo-Japanese War (February 8, 1904 - September 5, 1905) - was a war between two colonial powers, the Imperial Russian and Imperial Japanese military, taking place in China. Information about its background can be found here at, and here
bijin-ga - (美人画) is the Japanese term for beautiful women in mokuhanga. 
Itō Shinsui (1898-1972) After Washing Her Hair (1936)
yakusha-e - (役者絵) is the Japanese term for actor prints in mokuhanga. 
Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904) Oyama Doll - Ichikawa Udanji (1893)
Taishō Period  (1912-1926) - a short lived period of Japanese modern history but an important one in world history. This is where the militarism of fascist Japan began to take seed, leading to The Pacific War (1931-1945). More info can be found, here.
hanmoto system - is the Edo Period (1603-1868) collaboration system of making woodblock prints in Japan. The system was about using, carvers, printers, and craftsmen by various print publishers in order to produce woodblock prints. The system consisted of the following professions; publisher, artist, carver, and printer.
Yamato Take no Mikoto with His Sword Kusanagi - is the print by Ogata Gekkō which Carol mentions as one of her favourite prints.
Oliver Statler (1915-2002) -  was an American author and scholar and collector of mokuhanga. He had been a soldier in World War 2, having been stationed in Japan. After his time in the war Statler moved back to Japan where he wrote about Japanese prints. His interests were of many facets of Japanese culture such as accommodation and the 88 Temple Pilgrimage of Shikoku. Oliver Statler, in my opinion, wrote one of the most important books on the sōsaku-hanga movement, “Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn.”
John Stevenson -  is an American author who has written extenisvely on Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892). 
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (月岡 芳年) was a mokuhanga designer who is famous for his prints depicting violence and gore. His work is powerful, colourful, and one of the last vibrant moments of the ukiyo-e genre of woodblock prints. More information about Yoshitoshis life and his copious amount of work can be found, here
The Flower of Edo (1858)

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川 國芳) - was a print designer and painter known for his triptychs, yoko-e (horizontal landscape prints), Yokohama-e (prints with Yokohama as its subject), and yakusha-e (actor prints). Considered as one of the last of the "golden age" print designers of the ukiyo-e genre. 

Ichikawa Kodanji IV as the ghost of Asakura Togo (possibly 1851)

Kunisada/Kuniyoshi Exhibit - was an art exhibition held at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston from August 11 - December 10, 2017. There was also an excellent catalogue printed for this show and would add to any woodblock print fan’s library. more info, here.

The book I reference about Toyohara Kunichika is "Time Present and Time Past of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika 1835-1900" 

There are various online print collections that the aspiring mokuhanga scholar can seek out to help in their studies. The Library of Congress has their collection online, as does, who have various impressions af their prints throughout their website. 

Scholten Japanese Art - is a mokuhanga focused art gallery located in midtown Manhattan. It was founded by René Scholten, an avid collector of the Japanese print. More info can be found, here.

Acadia Books - is a vintage and unique used bookstore located at Sherbourne and Queent St. East in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In my opinion it is one of the best bookstores I have had the priviledge to visit. More info, here

© Popular Wheat Productions

opening and closing musical credit - intro music is Spill Yer Lungs and outro music is Tailor  both by Julie Doiron from her album I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day (2009) on Jagjaguar Records

logo designed and produced by Douglas Batchelor and André Zadorozny 

Disclaimer: Please do not reproduce or use anything from this podcast without shooting me an email and getting my express written or verbal consent. I'm friendly :)

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***The opinions expressed by guests in The Unfinished Print podcast are not necessarily those of André Zadorozny and of Popular Wheat Productions.***