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The Unfinished Print

Feb 16, 2023

When studying mokuhanga, whether you're an academic, a creator, or for general interest, there are some scholars and academics that are mandatory in your studies. 

Claire Cuccio is that particular scholar. Currently based in Seattle, and working in international education for 20 years, Claire has been a resident in Asia as an Asian print and handcraft culture specialist and cultural heritage educator. While also working for the International Mokuhanga Conference and conducting research on Nepalese woodblock print culture, Claire has been an asset to the mokuhanga community for some time. 

On this episode I speak with Claire about how she got involved in studying print culture in Japan and Asia. We talk on the sensibility of mokuhanga and how Claire is driven by her personal relationships. We also discuss the economics of mokuhanga history and her work with Nepalese printmaker, Kabi Raj Lama. 

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.

Claire Cuccio  - her International Mokuhanga Conference lecture from 2022 can be found, here. Claire's work with woodpaperhand can be found here which contains links to many of her projects and lectures. Claire's lecture at the Library of Congress about Japanese Woodblock Printing, here

The New Yorker -  is a weekly magazine which began publishing in 1925 in the United States. It is published by Condé Nast. It is a magazine that covers American and world politics, culture, and arts from around the world, and New York City. 

Washington University in St. Louis - is an acclaimed private research university located in St Louis, Missouri, USA. It has an edownment of 13.3 billion. The school covers many subjects and career paths such as medicine and law. More information can be found on their website, here.

Myōjō - (明星) was a monthly literary and arts magazine based in Japan. It began publication in 1900 but ended its run in 1908.  It was published by Shinshisha. It was revived twice from 1921-1927, and from 1947-49 by different publishers. The magazine was made famous because of the first sōsaku hanga print ever made by Yamamoto Kanae, “The Fisherman.” 

Myōjō cover from February, 1901

Harpers - is a monthly magazine in the United States, published by Harper Collins and was founded in 1850. The magazine covers politics, culture, art, history amongst other subjects. More info can be found, here.

Yosano Akiko (1878-1942) - was the pen name of Shō Hō, a Japanese poet, pacifict and feminist. Her work was in the tanka format of poetry, which is 5-7-5-7-7. The Masterclass website has an interesting article describing tanka poetry, here.

Tekkan Yosano (1873-1935)- was the husband of Yosano Akiko. He too was a poet and activist in early Twentieth Century Japan. As Claire mentions in her interview, Tekkan founded Myōjō in 1900. 

sōsaku-hanga - or creative prints, is a style of printmaking which is predominantly, although not exclusively, prints made by one person. It started in the early twentieth century in Japan, in the same period as the shin-hanga movement. The artist designs, carves, and prints their own works. The designs, especially in the early days, may seem rudimentary but the creation of self-made prints was a breakthrough for printmakers moving away from where only a select group of carvers, printers and publishers created woodblock prints. 

Fujishima Takeji (1867-1943)  - was a Japanese painter. He studied Western painting (yōga) in the Romantic and impressionistic styles, but also painted Japanese themes. He made mokuhanga during the sōsaku hanga period of Japanese printing, carved and printed himself. 

Dawn Drizzle at Kawaramachi (1934)

Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958) - was a Japanese painter who studied Western style painting. He became editor of the first incarnation of Myōjō in 1900, helping to publish Kanae’s “Fisherman” print. Hakutei is famous for his Twelve Views of Tōkyō prints which he printed himself. 

Twelve Views of Tōkyō: Yanagibashi (1910)

Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (KCJS) - located on the campus at Doshisha University, the KCJS is a fully immersive langauge school both culturally and linguistically. It has 13 member universities from the United States. More info can be found, here.

Henry Smith II - is a professor emeritus at Columbia University. The article he wrote about the hanmoto system and Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885-1962) can be found, here

Rebecca Salter - is the President of The Royal Academy of Arts, in London, England. She is also an artist who has written two books about Japanese woodblock printing, Japanese Woodblock Printing (2001), and Japanese Popular Prints (2006). She worked with the Satō Woodblock Print Workshop, documenting their process. Her interview with The Unfinished Print can be found, here

shadow cast one (2015)

Satō woodblock workshop - is a traditional Japanese woodblock production house based in Kyōto, Japan. Here is an article from The Journal of Modern Craft with Rebecca Salter regarding this workshop. 

International Society for Education Through Art (InSEA) - is a non governmental, associated with the United Nations, organization which tries to promote creative education around the world via events. They work with 70 countries from around the world. Find out more about what they do at their website, here.

Moya Bligh (1954-2009) - was an Irish mokuhanga printmaker based in Kyoto. She lived in Japan for 30 years, having moved there permanently in the 1980’s. A graduate of Tama Art University, Moya studied with Akira Kurosaki (1937-2019) and regularly conducted mokuhanga workshops in Ireland and Japan. Ms. Bligh's legacy in mokuhanga continues to this day.

Beyond Wood 1 (2002)

Kyoto Seika University - is a private university based in Kyōto, Japan. It is a university focused on art and scholarship. More info, here

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 Kyōto. She has studied with the late Akira Kurosaki. More info about Elizabeth’s work can be found, here

Glancing North II (2009)

Keiko Kadota (1942-2017) - was the director of Nagasawa Art Park at Awaji City from 1997-2011, and then of MI Lab at Lake Kawaguchi from 2011 until her passing.

Uchiwa fans - are a craft style of hand held fan commonly seen in the summer time in Japan. There are several types of uchiwa fans, according to Kogei Japan. First, is Chinese inspired, second, is Southern inspired, and lastly, Korean inspired. Uchiwa fans are shaped like a ping pong paddle. There are various styles of fans in Japan. More info about uchiwa fans and others can be found here at

New Year Card - called nengajo (年賀状) in Japanese, these cards have been traditionally passed from person to person since the Heian Period (794-1185). Mokuhanga practitioners make them as well, creating a new one every year focusing on the zodiac sign of the year as a theme.

Kyōto Handicraft Center - opened  in 1967, it is a center dedicated to the traditional crafts of Japan. Located near the Heian Shrine in central Kyōto they offer work shops, food, a restaurant, and a bookshop for national and international tourists. On their website in English you can order from their online shop, shipping internationally. More info, here

Kamigata Ukiyo-e Museum - is mokuhanga museum in Ōsaka that focuses on ukiyo-e era woodblock prints of actors. It is made up of four floors with a rotating exhibition and demonstration space. It’s near the Dōntombori, a canal which runs from the Dōtonbori Bridge to Nipponbashi Bridge. It is a tourist hotspot in Ōsaka. More info, in Japanese, here

Terry McKenna - is a mokuhanga printmaker based in Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan. He studied under Kyōto-based mokuhanga artist Richard Steiner. Terry also runs his own mokuhanga school in Karuizawa. His interview with The Unfinished Print can be found, here. Richard Steiner's interview with The Unfinished Print can be found, here

Beyond Raging Waves (2017)

David Bull - is a Canadian woodblock printmaker, and educator who lives and works in Japan. His love of mokuhanga has almost singlehandedly promoted the art form around the world. His company, Mokuhankan, has a brick and mortar store in Asakusa, Tōkyō, and online, here

The Seacoast in Summer (2007-9)

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
Matsushima (1936)
Was designed by Tsuchiya Koitsu (1870-1949), and printed by Mokuhankan with Shun Yamamoto, who is himself an accomplished printmaker. 

The Adachi Institute of Woodblock Prints - is a print studio located in Tōkyō. Established in 1994 in order to promote and preserve the colour woodblock print of Japan. More information, in English and in Japanese. 

Narita, Chiba, Japan - is a city located roughly 70km from the city of Tōkyō. Known predominantly as the home to Narita International Airport. The city and its environs have a long and rich history unto itself. For tourist information,  here. For the history of protest in the area, here.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an influential artist and filmmaker who ushered in the genre of art, considered as "pop art."
Sunset Series (1972) screen-print
Kabi Raj Lama  - is a Nepalese printmaker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He has lived and worked in Japan studying mokuhanga, has travelled the world involved in art residences, studying printmaking. Lama works in intaglio, screen-printing, lithography, and mokuhanga. See Claire's above video from the IMC about Kabi Raj Lama's life and history. HIs Instagram can be found, here.
Kabiraj 5 (2017)
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
The Mokuhanga Sisters - are a mokuhanga collective consisting of Yoonmi Nam, Mariko Jesse, Lucy May Schofield, Melissa Schulenberg, Kate MacDonagh, Katie Baldwin, Mia-O, Patty Hudak, and Natasha Norman. website,  Instagram
Between Worlds - was a mokuhanga specific show hosted by the Kentler International Drawing Space from July 17 - July 31, 2022. 
Books Kinokuniya - is a Japanese chain of bookstores located throughout every Prefecture in Japan and around the world. More info, here. 
Peter Ujlaki - is a gallerist and scholar based in Ashiya, Hyōgō, Japan. His website has been an asset when researching and discussing prints from the Kamigata (Kansai) region of Japan. His website buys and sells prints from the above region of Kyoto, Ōsaka, and Kobe. The history of woodblock prints from this region is different than of Tōkyō. You can find Peter’s wesbite, here.
senjafuda - are the votive slips Claire brings up in her interview. These were hand printed slips pasted by the worshipper onto the Buddhist temple of their choosing. These slips had many different subjects such as ghosts, Buddhist deities, and written characters. Japan Experience has bit of history of senjafuda, here.
The Bai people - are an ethnic group located in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Hunan Provinces of China. The Bai people have unique festivals, foods, and architecture. 
Nishiki-e (錦絵) - is the Japanese phrase for multi-colour woodblock prints, otherwise known as brocade pictures. 
Sea of Japan - is a body of water which lies beteween Japan, the two Koreas, and Russia. It is predominantly referred to as the Sea of Japan but is also known as the East Sea or Korean East Sea. The dispute of naming rights is on going. 
International Mokuhanga Conference - is a bi-yearly conference dedicated to mokuhanga which started in 2011 by the International Mokuhanga Association. Each conference is themed. The latest conference was in 2021, delayed a year because of the pandemic. More information can be found, here.  
Tuula Moilanen - is a Finnish mokuhanga printmaker and painter based in Finland. She lived and studied in Kyōto from 1989-2012,  where she learned her printmaking at Kyōto Seika University and from printmaker Akira Kurosaki (1937-2019). Her work can be found, here.
Return To Home (2014)
geidai (芸大) -  is the Japanese word for “arts college.” 
Lauren Pearlman Sugita - is the owner and operator of the Japanese paper educator and supplier, Paper Connection. Based in Rhode Island, USA, Paper Connection has been supplying artists and educators with paper from many countries for over thirty years. More info can be found, here

Echizen - is a region in Fukui Prefecture, Japan associated with Japanese paper making. It has a long history of paper making. There are many paper artisans in the area. One famous paper maker is Iwano Ichibei. He is a Living National Treasure in paper making, and the ninth generation of his family is still making paper today. More info can be found here in English, and here in Japanese

hosho paper - is a handmade and machine made paper from Japan used for printmaking. Some information can be found here.

Ibe Kyoko -  is a Japanese artist who works with washi, Japanese paper. She produces installations, prints, stage art, and Japanese folding screens (byōbu). You can find more information about her work on her website, here. An interview with the artist can be found here, at the Noyes Museum of Art in Stockton.
Recycling Washi Tales - is a performance piece by Kyoko Ibe and playwright Elise Thoron,  made about Japanese paper making and with washi. It is four stories, narrated,  taking the observer through different parts of Japanese paper history. More info can be found here on PBS. 
Vietnamese paper (dó) - a great video from Business Insider,  here, about the history and modern production of Vietnamese paper in Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam. Vietnamese paper goes as far back as the 13th Century with book making and folk art. Information regarding the Zó Project, a non profit for preserving traditional Vietnamese paper, mentioned in the video can be found, here.
BlueCat Paper -  is a paper company based in Bangalore, India. They make various handmade paper in India, different shapes and colours. They upcycle their paper, meaning that everything is reused in the making of their paper. More info can be found, here.
handmade paper from Laos - South East Asia has had a tradition of papermaking for 700 years. Laotian paper is made of mulberry. More info can be found, here
handmade paper from Bhutan -  Bhutan has a history of handmade paper using the Daphne plant. Stemming from the eighth century, papermaking in Bhutan is made throughout the country. In 1990 the Bhutanese Travel and Tourist Agency wanted to preserve Bhutanese handmade paper. They sent Norbu Tenzin to learn papermaking in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. More info can be found at thre North Bengal Tourism site, here.
Lokta paper - is a Nepalese paper which also uses the bark of the Daphne tree. It is usually sold with various prints and designs.  More info can be found at Paper Connection, here.
© Popular Wheat Productions

opening and closing musical credit - Stakes Is High, the instrumental by James Dewitt Yancey [J Dilla] (1974-2006). This beat was used by De La Soul, and released on the record Stakes Is High (1996) released by Tommy Boy Records. RIP David Jude Jolicoeur [Trugoy the Dove] (1968-2023)

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.***