My Woodblock Book List #1:

Hey all- Sorry for the long wait. As I think I said before, I’m done with the printing of the Appalachian Trail Print series. I’m struggling with the binding at the moment and have discovered that I’m a much better printer (or a much poorer binder)- still in the prototype stage…

Anyway, I thought that I’d share a few of the 75 or so books I own relating to Japanese-style woodblock printmaking- the first installment concentrating on my three favorite artists: Hiroshi Yoshida, Toshi Yoshida, and Kawase Hasui.

The Yoshida Family

OK, so this is the book that starting all this nonsense 🙂

Complete Yoshida
“The Complete Woodblocks of Hiroshi Yoshida”

“The Complete Woodblocks of Hiroshi Yoshida”,

Amazon (later edition by Tuttle) ABE Publishing, 1987 203 pages, in English and Japanese

While living in Atlanta, I was perusing a local bookstore and they had a pile of these books. I couldn’t stop looking at these prints and still can’t- each page revealed a new world for me. Yoshida loved mountains as I do. I’m wary about the claim “complete” – there are several prints of Hiroshi’s out there that aren’t contained here, but the vast majority are. Beautiful accurate color and nice information.

Blakeney Yoshida
“Yoshida Hiroshi: Printmaker”

“Yoshida Hiroshi: Printmaker” by Ben Bruce Blakeney

H Yoshida Courth Lions
“Court of Lions”

Published by: Foreign Affairs Assoc. of Japan; 2nd printing (1953), in English


Three years after Hiroshi’s death, This biography was written. It includes the post-mortem frontispiece “Court of Lions, The Alhambra” which is a charming little print. A general biography with a great list of his prints and bibliography at the time.


Hiroshi Bible
“Japanese Wood-Block Printing”

“Japanese Wood-Block Printing” by Hiroshi Yoshida

Published by: Sanseido Publishing, Tokyo; 1st ed. (1939), in English ABE BOOKS


Considered the “bible” of how-to in mokuhanga- especially shin-hanga. Includes 6 hand-printed examples: a frontispiece “Cherry and Castle” and a progressive stage print of “A Junk” (see right).  This book can be accessed online through David Bull’s Woodblock Encyclopedia. I find this to be a sincere attempt (although he does leave out some details) to spread the craft to the west. Since it was published in 1939, I’m amazed how many copies (although not cheap) are still available.


junk process
“A Junk” progressive prints with alternative night version.

MOA Yoshida

“Hiroshi Yoshida Exhibition

Published by: MOA (Museum of Art, Shizuoka, Japan), 2000; 134 pages

Includes a wide-variety of Yoshida’s prints, paintings (some traditional sumi-e), drawings a a few images of carved blocks. Many of the paintings and drawings relate to later print designs. All images are in color with a list of works. In Japanese.




Yoshida Japanese 1

“Exhibition of the Wood-Block Prints by Hiroshi Yoshida

Published by: Riccar Museum, Tokyo; 1976

250 black and white reproductions and 11 in color with list of works. In Japanese and sparse English.



Yoshida Japanese 1 1

“My Yoshida Hiroshi Unpublished Manual“, by Tamio Sonoda 

Self-published, 107 pages. Yamada Shoten.

Another book I picked up in Tokyo, this one commemorating Yoshida’s 140th years since birth has been described as a “fan boy” book showing 15o illustrations of Hiroshi Yoshida’s drawing and paintings that influenced his later prints.





Yoshida Yuki
Toshi Yoshida, “Japanese Print Making”

“Japanese Print Making: A Handbook of Traditional & Modern Techniques” by Toshi Yoshida and Rei Yuki

Tuttle, 1966. 176 pages, in English. Copy signed “To: Sir Allen Brown [Australian Ambassador to Japan], 14th, Nov., 1966”

I feel confident that Hiroshi’s son, Toshi wanted this to be the contemporary version of his father’s “Japanese Wood-Block Printing” manual. The book certainly contains many experimental techniques during a time in which Toshi was full-swing in his modern phase. Like his later prints, I haven’t seen these techniques ‘catch on’. I do admire Toshi’s desire to go beyond the shin hanga genre.

An interesting note: My copy came with this flyer announcing an accompanying 28-minute movie “Japanese Print Making”. I believe that I later saw that it is in The University of Hawaii’s Art Museum collection, so apparently, it was made…

toshi movie
Toshi Yoshida’s Color Movie: “Japanese Print Making”, 1966


Toshi Varieties

“Varieties of the Japanese Print, Vol. 1” by Toshi Yoshida

Self-published, 1967Toshi Varieties page, in English. ABE Books

To accompany his”Japanese Print Making: A Handbook of Traditional & Modern Techniques” manual, this collection of prints feature 20 hand-printed woodblocks including several process prints. All of the designs reflect the contemporary experimental bent that certainly has a early-to-mid 60s feel.

I find that this information to be minimally-useful, but in the right hands, I think that someone can produce some interesting graphic work.




Kawase Hasui

Hasui Complete“Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints”  by Kendall Brown

Hotei Publishing, 2003 ( or 2008). Two volumes, 592 pages, in English.

Coming in at nearly 12 lbs, this is not the only compendium, but certainly the most exhaustive. Also includes a DVD with additional prints not included and a 42-minute documentary (in Japanese) of Hasui working two years before his death. You can see the online version on YouTube below.


hasui and others

“Kawase Hasui and His Contemporaries”  by Irwin Prachter

Emerson Museum of Art, 1986

Essays on Kobayashi Kiyochika, Shozaburo Watanabe, Hashiguchi Goyo, Kawase Hasui, and publisher’s marks.

With black and white images and 9 color plates from prominent shinhanga artists: Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Kobayashi Kiyochika, Hashiguchi Goyo, Ito Shinsui, Kawase Hasui, Hiroshi Yoshida, Kasamatsu Shiro, and Ito Takashi.



Well, that’s all, folks!

Stay tuned for the next installment of books about woodblock printmaking.

A secret holiday message may be transmitted with your decoder ring and don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine!

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