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Shin Hanga Carvers and Printers - Introduction
by Chihiro "Tosh" Doi

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As you might know well, it had been said that authentic Japanese woodblock prints were the fruits of joint efforts by publisher, artist, carver, printer and other relevant craft persons. But it was very rare for you to identify both carver and printer by their full names besides acknowledged publisher and artist for your favorite woodblock prints. I had been long researching on such anonymous carvers and printers that really accomplished a lot of masterpieces of so-called shin hanga prints in the early twentieth century and their qualified successors as well. Much more attention should be paid to such craft persons' skilled contribution when we discuss Japanese woodblock prints. In the meantime I happened to find four very informative reference articles as follows. As far as I checked, those articles should be the best database published in Japan so that we could trace their personal background of carvers and printers.

(1) Genealogical Trees of Carvers & Printers in 1922

- by a public researcher Mr. Ikuta Kakyu (or Keijiro)
- at pages 351-370 of "Hanga Reisan (Adoration for Woodblock Print)"
- published by Kisho Fukusei Kai in 1925, Tokyo.

(2) Carvers & Printers Directory in Kanto Region (with Genealogical Trees) in 1962

- compiled by a public researcher Mr. Hase Ryohei through his hearing efforts
- at pages 71-100 of "Nihon Hanga Binran ( Bijutsu Zenshu Supplement)"
- published by Kodansha in 1962, Tokyo.

(3) Authentic Woodblock Artisans Directory from 17th through 20th century

- supervised by a public researcher Mr. Hase Ryohei.
- at pages 93-227 of the captioned booklet for commemorating late artisans
- privately published by Kyoto Hangain Institute in 1966.

(4) Woodblock Carvers & Printers Community in Early Showa Era

- by Mr. Takagi Shoji, Ex-Director of Ukiyo-e Preservation Association.
- at No. 65, 68, 70 of "Ukiyo-e Geijutsu (Journal of Japan Ukiyo-e Society)"
- published by Japan Ukiyo-e Society in 1980-1981, Tokyo.

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I want to express my sincere thanks to various published books and exhibition catalogs on Japanese woodblock prints including several key reports at websites because I could refer and verify the active periods of pending carvers and printers. I am also grateful to Mr. David Bull, who kindly gave me a copy list of contemporary craft persons belonging to Tokyo Dento Mokuhanga Kogei Kyokai. I highly evaluate all those authors' preceding efforts on keeping records of many a craft person in writing and/or by image. Unless I came across those precious reference articles, I had no motivation to attempt this kind of challenging research project.

Now that I have compiled a bunch of data on carvers and printers for the first time, I am very pleased to disclose this "New Comprehensive Directory of Shin Hanga Carvers & Printers" here at ShinHanga.net. As I could list up as many as 775 carvers and 1165 printers, I believe this directory might cover more than 90% of craft persons who actually engaged in Japanese woodblock carving and printing community from mid-1870's through 2000. They didn't always take part in shin hanga prints but they should be certainly associated with each other through their authentic craftsmanship. I wish you could make best use of this directory not only as a reference tool but also as a good reminder of their significant contribution to authentic Japanese woodblock prints world in admiration. Please get in touch whenever you may have any question on carvers or printers listed here. I will make every effort to reveal their obscurities as much as possible through my fact-finding research. I really appreciate if you could let me know any new information on carvers and printers so as to revise or update this directory.

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A name seal which reads "Doi". Click for larger pop-up view. Learn more about Mr. Tosh Doi, our contributor of this important shin hanga research material.

Your feedback is welcomed -- please send in your comments, suggestions and print images.

Original text as written and submitted by Chihiro Tosh Doi, Tokyo, for this article is his property, copyright 2002, all rights reserved.
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