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The Unfinished Print

Feb 13, 2021

Taran Casey is very committed to the craft of mokuhanga. Taran is an apprentice carver in Tokyo, Japan. Following his progress on social media over the past year or so, I have found his work fascinating as well as educating. In this episode of The Unfinished Print, I speak with Taran regarding the apprenticeship process under a Japanese teacher, what he has learned in technique the last two years, as well his opinions on the future of mokuhanga in a modern world. 

Please follow The Unfinished Print and my print work on Instagram @popular_wheatprints, Twitter @unfinishedprint, or email me at

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

Taran Casey (Gingko Hanga) - Instagram, website, Patreon

Motuharu Asaka - Taran's teacher. Class and workshop information can be found on his website and Instagram

Kodaira - is a city in western Tokyo with many colleges and universities. It also has an abundance of museums, parks and temples and shrines. 

Mokuhankan (David Bull) - Canadian carver and printer located in Asakusa, Tokyo. If you are interested in watching Dave work, he has a Twitch stream updated regularly. 

Wood-like Matsumura - is a brick and mortar woodblock print supply shop in Nerima City, Tokyo. They also have an online shop where overseas printmakers can purchase equipment for their work. 

Ozu Washi - is a handmade paper shop located in Nihonbashi, Chuo ward, Tokyo. They sell from their shop as well as online. 

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川 國芳 - 1798-1861) - was a print designer and painter known for his triptychs, yoko-e (horizontal landscape prints), Yokohama-e (prints about the port city of Yokohama), and yakusha-e (actor prints). Considered one of the last of the golden age print designers of ukiyo-e.

The Last Samurai (film) - is a 2003 feature-length film starring Tom Cruise, and Ken Watanabe. Rife with historical inaccuracies it attempts to tell the story of Saigō Takamori (1828-1877) one of the leaders of what would be considered the Meiji Restoration. The film describes the attempt at restoring power to the Emperor and Takamori's death for this cause. 

The David Bull carving Taran is speaking about is the very popular YouTube full stream woodblock carving from start to finish, of a lithographic print originally by Ichijō Narumi (1877-1911), called At The Hotspring (1906). It can be seen in its entirety on YouTube here and can be purchased, here

Komura Settai (1887-1940) - an artist who painted, and illustrated many things from books to woodblock prints, to kabuki stage sets. Taran carved and printed Settai's Osen Kasa

Shodō - is Japanese calligraphy

tamari (溜まり) - is the pooling of ink between the carved lines of your woodblock. This is exposed when testing your carving but can be fixed by either recarving the part of the block causing tamari or altering the amount of ink or water being used. 

Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾 北斎, 1760-1849) - was an artist and woodblock designer made famous for The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1829-1832) His career was long and exemplary. One of the most famous Japanese artists of all time. 

bijin-ga (じん画) - woodblock prints associated with the depiction of women using elements from nature, fashion, and culture to depict the female image in many interesting ways. 

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806 -喜多川 歌麿) - artist and woodblock print designer made famous for his ōkubi-e (大首絵), or large head prints. His influence has stretched all over the world. 

Adachi woodblock print company - located in Shinjuku-ward Tokyo is a company based on reproducing old prints. You can purchase prints directly from them, here.

yamazakura is wood traditionally used for making Japanese woodblock prints. An interesting conversation from 2016 on David Bull's Mokuhankan Conversations discusses yamazakura

Tokyu Hands is a large chain of department style stores throughout Japan. They carry absolutely everything. Check out their website for a better understanding of what they do. 

opening and closing credit background music: Donald Byrd "Love's So Far Away" from his 1973 album Blackbyrd

© Popular Wheat Productions

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 :)