What are Kuchi-e?
Brimming with wistful beauties and romantic allusions, kuchi-e, literally translated to "mouth pictures" or "opening pictures," served as frontispiece illustrations for popular novels and literary magazines from the 1890s through the 1910s. Bound or inserted within the text, these images transcended simple illustration to capture the characters, atmosphere and sentiment of each story as a whole.
What is Sosaku Hanga?
In the early 20th century, two distinct modern Japanese print movements emerged. The Sosaku Hanga movement honed in on the artist and the process of making. The knife, the ink, the block, the paper—each material was integral to the artist's experience. This emphasis on the individual and artistic autonomy matured throughout the movement and continues to course throughout the Japanese printmaking community today.
Imagining Japan: Early Japanese Photography
The history of photography in Japan begins during the Edo period. Introduced through the Dutch merchants that inhabited Dejima Island in Nagasaki Bay, the medium attracted an initially small, but intrigued audience. Following the Meiji Restoration, the popularity of photography surpassed that of woodblock prints.
Advancements in Japanese Photography from the Edo Period
Photography first arrived in Japan during the Edo period when Dutch merchants inhabited Nagasaki Bay. Many early Japanese photographers went to study in Nagasaki and in 1854 Kawamoto Komin published Ensei-Kikijutsu, the first book in Japanese about photographic techniques.