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The Unfinished Print

Oct 31, 2023

As a collector of mokuhanga, I am constantly exploring the reasons behind my love of collecting mokuhanga and why I make it and educate myself about it; it seems to be layered, even for my modest collection. So it is always fascinating to speak to someone who has been collecting for many years, with a deep understanding of why they collect and how they do. 
I speak with mokuhanga collector Darrel C. Karl about his collection of prints, paintings and scrolls. It's one to admire. Collecting for years now, Darrel was kind enough to speak to me about his collection, how he began it, his love of preparatory drawings, collecting ukiyo-e, shin hanga, and we discussed in length his blogs, Eastern Impressions and Modern Japanese Theatre Art Prints. 

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. Dimensions are given if known.

Darrel C. Karl - Eastern Impressions & Modern Japanese Theatre Art Prints.

Hashiguchi Goyō (1880-1921) - a woodblock print designer who also worked, albeit shortly, with Watanabe Shōzaburō. In his short life Goyō designed some of the most iconic woodblock prints ever made. “Kamisuki” 1920, and “Woman Applying Powder” 1918. 

Woman Applying Make-up (Hand Mirror) 1970's/80's reprint

Ishikawa Toraji (1875-1964) -trained initially as a painter, having travelled to Europe and The States early in his professional life. Painted primarily landscapes while exhibiting at the fine art exhibitions in Japan Bunten and Teiten. Famous for designing Ten Types of Female Nudes from 1934-35. He finished his career as a painter and educator. 

Morning from Ten Types of Female Nudes (1934)

Charles W. Bartlett (1860-1940) - was a British painter, watercolorist and printmaker. Travelling the world in 1913, Bartlett ended up in Japan two years later. Having entered Japan, Bartlett already had a reputation as an artist. Bartlett's wife, Kate, had struck up a friendship with printmaker and watercolorist Elizabeth Keith. Watanabe Shōzaburō was acutely aware of foreign artists coming to Japan, having worked with Fritz Capelari and Helen Hyde. Watanabe published 38 designs with Charles Bartlett. Bartlett's themes were predominantly of his travels. 

Udaipur (1916) 8" x 11" 

Paul Binnie - is a Scottish painter and mokuhanga printmaker based in San Diego, USA. Having lived and worked in Japan in the 1990s, studying with printmaker Seki Kenji whilst there, Paul has successfully continued to make mokuhanga and his paintings to this day. You can find Paul's work at Scholten Gallery in Manhattan, and Saru Gallery in The Netherlands. 

Butterly Bow (2005) 15" x 11"

Yamakawa Shuhō (1898-1944) - was a Nihon-ga painter and printmaker. His prints were published by Watanabe Shōzaburō and he created the Blue Collar Society in 1939 with Itō Shinsui. Made famous for his bijin-ga prints. 

Dusk (1928) 14.3" x 9.5"

Red Collar (1928)

Otojirō Kawakami (1864-1911) - was a Japanese actor and comedian. His wife was geisha, and actress Sadayako (Sada Yakko). 

Impressions - is a biannual magazine published by The Japanese Art Society of America. 

Andon - is a biannual magazine published by The Society of Japanese Art. 

Gallaudet University - is a private federally charted university located in Washington D.C., USA for the deaf and hard of hearing. More info can be found here

National Museum of Asian Art - is a museum within the Smithsonian group museums and was the first fine art museum by The Smithsonian in 1923. More info can be found, here

Vincent Hack (1913-2001) - was an American printmaker and Colonel in the United States Army. He produced mokuhanga from ca. 1950-1960. He studied in the Yoshida atelier while living in Tokyo. More information about VIncent Hack can be found in Eastern Impressions, here

Chinese beauty and Dragon (not dated)

Elizabeth Keith (1887-1956) - was a Scottish born printmaker, watercolorist, and painter. She travelled extensively before living in Japan  from 1915-1924. In 1917 she was introduced to print published Watanabe Shōzaburō and by 1919 after some work with Watanabe's skilled artisans Keith started to see some of her designs printed. Over 100 prints were published of Keith's designs. More information can be found, here

Little Pavillion, Coal Oil, Peking (1935)

Lillian May Miller (1895-1943) - was a Japan born American printmaker. Studying under painter Kanō Tomonobu (1853-1912). Miller began carving and printing her own prints by 1925 having studied under Nishimura Kumakichi. 

Rain Blossoms (1928) 10" x 15"

Nöel Nouët  (1885-1969) - was a French painter, illustrator and designer who designed prints for Doi Hangaten between 1935 and 1938 when Nouët was teaching in Shizuoka City, Shizuoka, Japan. 

Haruna Lake (1938)

Helen Hyde (1868-1919) - was an American etcher, and printmaker who studied in Japan with artists such as Emil Orlik (1870-1932). Hyde was influenced by French Japonisme and lived in Japan from 1903-1913. 

A Japanese Madonna (1900) 14.5" x 3"

Kataoka Gadō V (1910-1993) - was a Kabuki actor who specialized in female roles or onnagata in Japanese. He became Kitaoka Nizaemon XIV posthumously. 

Natori Shunsen (1886-1960) - was a Nihon-ga painter and woodblock print designer who worked with Watanabe Shōzaburō. Shunsen's prints focused on kabuki actors, mainly ōkubi-e , large head prints. 

Ichikawa Ennosuke as Kakudayu (1928) 15" x 10"

Kabuki-za - is the main theatre in Tōkyō which shows kabuki performances. It was opened in 1889 and has been rebuilt several times in its history. 

Kabuki Costume - is a book written by Ruth M. Shaver with illustrations by Sōma Akira and Ōta Gakkō (1892-1975). It is an in-depth book about the costuming in kabuki theatre. It was published by Charles E. Tuttle in 1966.

Ōta Gakkō - was an artist and designer who also designed woodblock prints in the 1950's. 

Ichikawa Jukai III (1886-1971) as Shirai Gonpachi  from Figures of the Modern Stage: no. 3 (1954)

Tsuruya Kōkei - is a mokuhanga artist who lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. His prints have focused on kabuki actors; in the 1980s, he was commissioned to produce kabuki portraits by the Kabuki-za theatre in Tokyo. Recently, he has focused on cats and the masters of mokuhanga such as Hokusai (1760-1849). He printed on very thin gampi paper. 

Five Styles of Banzai-Ukiyoe / Katsushika Hokusai (2017) 

Yamamura Toyonari (1885-1942) - also known as Kōka, is a painter, and print designer known for his theatrical prints, actor prints, landscapes and beautiful women. He studied under printmaker Ogata Gekkō (1859-1920). Toyonari worked with carvers and printers to create his prints such as those at Watanabe's studio and also printed and carved his own prints. 

February/Winter Sky (1924) 16.35" x 10.5"

Sekino Jun'ichirō (1914-1988) - was a mokuhanga printmaker who helped establish the sōsaku hanga, creative print movement in Japan. His themes were of landscapes, animals and the abstract. Sekino exhibited and became a member with Nihon Hanga Kyōkai and studied with Ōnchi Kōshirō (1891-1955) and Maekawa Senpan (1888-1960). 

Woman In A Snowy Village (1946) 13" x 10"

Bertha Lum (1869-1954) - was born in Iowa. Having begun travelling to Japan in 1903, Bertha Lum noticed the decline of the Japanese woodblock print in Japan in the early 20th Century, deciding to take up the medium. Lum began making woodblock prints after learning in Japan from an unknown teacher during her first trip to Japan.

Japan, Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), and China influenced Bertha Lum's prints. Lum's work focused on these themes through an American lens. 

Winter (1909) 8" x 14"

Waseda University  - is a private research university located in Tōkyō, Japan. It was established in 1882. Waseda has one of the largest woodblock print databases in the world, and are free to use. More information can be found, here

Scholten Japanese Art - is a mokuhanga-focused art gallery in midtown Manhattan. René Scholten, an avid collector of the Japanese print, founded it. You can find more info here. Katherine Martin is the managing director of Scholten Japanese Art. Katherine has written extensively for the gallery and conducted lectures about Japanese prints. Her interview with The Unfinished Print can be found, here

Utagawa Kunisada III (1848–1920) - was a ukiyo-e print designer from the Utagawa school of mokuhanga. Kunisada III's print designs were designed during the transformation of the Edo Period (1603-1868) into the Meiji Period (1868-1912) of Japanese history, where his prints showed the technological, architectural and historical changes in Japan's history. 

Kataoka Jūzō I as Hanako from the play Yakko Dōjōji at the Kabuki-za (1906).

chūban - 10.4” x 7.5”

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.
Shintomi-za -built in 1660 and also known as the Morita-za was a kabuki theatre located in the Kobiki-chō area of Tokyo, today the Ginza District. It was famous for taking risks with its productions. 
Meiji-za - was a kabuki-specific theatre built in 1873 and underwent several name changes until finally being named the Meiji-za in 1893. The theatre continues to this day. 
Imperial Theatre - is the first Western theatre to be built in Japan in 1911 and is located in Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo. It continues to show Western operas and plays. 
The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts - was built in 1971, and named after the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. The theatre is located in Washington D.C. and hosts many different types of theatre, dance, orchestras and music. More information can be found, here
The Subscription List - also known as Kanjichō in Japanese, is a kabuki play derived from the noh play Ataka. The modern version of this play was first staged in 1840. It is performed as the 18 Famous Plays as performed by the Danjurō family of actors.
The Subscription List designed by Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900)
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. 
Waseda University  - is a private research university located in Tōkyō, Japan. It was established in 1882. Waseda has one of the largest woodblock print databases in the world, and are free to use. More information can be found, here
Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950) - a watercolorist, oil painter, and woodblock printmaker. Is associated with the resurgence of the woodblock print in Japan, and in the West. It was his early relationship with Watanabe Shōzaburō, having his first seven prints printed by the Shōzaburō atelier. This experience made Hiroshi believe that he could hire his own carvers and printers and produce woodblock prints, which he did in 1925. 
Kiso River (1927)
Toyohara Chikanobu (1838-1912) - was a painter and designer of mokuhanga. He was a samurai during the final years of the Tokugawa shogunate rule in Japan. As Chikanobu began to look more to art as a living, he studied under Utagawa Kuniyoshi where he learned Western painting and drawing techniques. He also studied under Utagawa Kunisada and Toyohara Kunichika. His print designs were of many different types of themes but Chikanobu is well known for his war prints (sensō-e), kabuki theatre prints, current events and beautiful women. 
Enpo- Jidai Kagami (1897)
32 Aspects of Women - is a series of prints designed by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892). It was his first series of bijin-ga designs. 
shin hanga - is a style of Japanese woodblock printmaking which began during the end of the ukiyo-e period of Japanese printmaking, in the early 20th Century. Focusing on the foreign demand for “traditional” Japanese imagery and motifs such as castles, bridges, famous landscapes, bamboo forests, to name just a few.  Shin hanga was born in 1915 by Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885-1962) when he found Austrian artist Frtiz Capelari (1884-1950) and commissioned Capelari to design some prints for Watanabe's feldgling printing house . From there shin-hanga evolved into its own distinct “new” style of Japanese woodblock printing. It lasted as this distinct style until its innevitable decline after the Second World War (1939-1945).
Onchi Kōshirō (1891-1955) - originally designing poetry and books Onchi became on of the most I important sōsaku hanga artists and promotor of the medium. His works are saught after today. More info, here.
Composition in Red and Brown (1950) 19" x 15"
Saru Gallery - is a mokuhanga gallery, from ukiyo-e to modern prints, and is located in Uden, The Netherlands. Their website can be found, here.
ukiyo-e - is a multi colour woodblock print generally associated with the Edo Period (1603-1867) of Japan. What began in the 17th Century as prints of only a few colours, evolved into an elaborate system of production and technique into the Meiji Period (1868-1912). With the advent of photography and other forms of printmaking, ukiyo-e as we know it today, ceased production by the late 19th Century. 
surimono (摺物)-  are privately commissioned woodblock prints, usually containing specialty techniques such as mica, and blind embossing. Below is Heron and Iris, (ca. 1770's) by Andō Hiroshige (1797-1858). This print is from David Bull's reproduction of that work. You can find more info about that project, here.
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) - is one of the most famous Japanese artists to have ever lived. Hokusai was an illustrator, painter and woodblock print designer. His work can be found on paper, wood, silk, and screen. His woodblock print design for Under The Wave off Kanagawa (ca. 1830-32) is beyond famous. His work, his manga, his woodblocks, his paintings, influence artists from all over the world.
Poem by Sōsei Hōshi, from the series One Hundred Poems Explained by the Nurse. Taishō period (1912–26)s reproduction. 
Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) - was a painter and ukiyo-e designer during the Edo Period of Japan. His portraits of women are his most famous designs. After getting into trouble with the shogunate during the early 19th Century with some offensive images of deceased shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536/37-1598), Utamaro was jailed and passed away shortly after that. 
The Courtesan Umegawa and Chubei of the Courier Firm
Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai) - founded during the merger of the Tokyo Fine Arts School and the Tokyo Music School in 1949, TUA offers Masters's and Doctorate degrees in various subjects such as sculpture, craft and design as well as music and film. It has multiple campuses throughout the Kantō region of Japan. More information regarding the school and its programs can be found here
Honolulu Museum of Art - dedicated to art and education focusing on arts from around the world and Hawaiian culture itself. More info, here.
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.
Enami Shirō (1901-2000) - was a printmaker who is associated with ephemeral prints such as greeting cards. Also created his own larger format prints during the burgeoning sōsaku hanga movement of the early to mid Twentieth Century. 
The Benkei Moat (1931) 12.5" x 9"
Kitano Tsunetomi (1880-1947) - was an illustrator, Nihon-ga painter, carver and print designer. Lived and worked in Osaka where he apprenticed carving with Nishida Suketaro. Founded the Taishō Art Society and the Osaka Art Society. Painted and created prints of beautiful women as well as mokuhanga for magazines such as Dai Osaka. The most famous of his prints and paintings is Sagimusume, The Heron Maiden. 
Umekawa - Complete Works of Chikamatsu (1923)
Hamada Josen (1875 - ?) - was a painter and mokuhanga designer and studied with Tomioka Eisen (1864-1905). Designed bijin, shunga,  and landscapes after the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. Designed prints for Collection of New Ukiyo-e Style Beauties (1924).
December - Clear Weather After Snow from the series New Ukiyo-e Beauties (1924) 17.50" x 11.12"
Ikeda Shoen (1886-1917) - was a Nihon-ga painter who's paintings also became mokuhanga prints. Her paintings are quite rare because of her early death. 
School Girls Going Home (1900) 13" x 9"
Igawa Sengai (1876-1961) - was a painter, illustrator and print designer. After serving in the Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905), he joined the Miyako Shinbun in Nagoya City. Designing prints in the 1926 he designed prints for Collected Prints of the Taishō Earthquake and in the 1930's he designed propaganda prints for the Japanese war effort. His contribution to the 1924 Collection of New Ukiyo-e Style Beauties (1924).
April - Rain of Blossoms (1924) from New Ukiyo-e Beauties.
Asian Art Museum San Fransisco - with over 18,000 pieces of art the Asian Art Museum of San Fransisco has one of the largest collections of Asian art in the United States. More information can be found, here
Freer Gallery of Art - is a museum within the Smithsonian group of museums in Washington D.C, with a collection of Chinese paintings, Indian sculpture; Islamic painting and metalware; Japanese lacquer; Korean ceramics. 
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery - is a museum within the Smithsonian group of museums in Washington D.C. It's collection contains some important Chinese jades and bronzes. 
Yoshida Hiroshi: The Outskirts of Agra Number 3 from the series India and Southeast Asia (1932)
Yoshida Hiroshi: Cave of Komagatake from the series Southern Japan Alps (1928)
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opening and closing musical credit - The Crystal Ship by The Doors from their self-titled album The Doors (1967). Release by Elektra Records.  

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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.***