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A Closer Look: Yorimasa and the Nue

From vengeful spirits to mischievous monsters, ukiyo-e teem with supernatural beings and spine-chilling tales. With Halloween upon us, we turn to one such tale–the story of Yorimasa and the nue–as told by two masters of the fearsome and fantastic, Kuniyoshi and Yoshitoshi. The nue is a chimeral monster with the head of a monkey, the body of a badger (or tanuki), the legs of a tiger, and a hissing snake as a tail, depending on the source.

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Katsukawa: Early Masters of Kabuki Portraiture

Ronin Gallery invites you to step into the theatrical world of 18th-century kabuki. Katsukawa: Early Masters of Kabuki Portraiture presents the brightest stars of the kabuki stage through the eyes of the artists of the Katsukawa School. Named for its founder, Shunsho Katsukawa, this artistic lineage redefined the field of actor prints (yakusha-e) in the late 18th century.

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Q+A with Sarah Brayer

Sarah Brayer is an internationally acclaimed artist who works in print and paper mediums. This May, we took a moment to catch up with her about her recent solo exhibition Inner Light at Kyoto’s Komyo-in Temple, her Luminosity series, and her latest book project.

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Spirit of the Stage: The Theatrical Prints of Kokei Tsuruya

In Spirit of the Stage: Kokei Tsuruya, we explore the career and artistic process of the woodblock print artist and modern master of actor portraiture, Kokei Tsuruya.

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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.

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Spring Showers

Rainy days envelop the senses, from sparkling reflections in the puddles and the steady drum of rain out the window, to the crisp smell of the air just before a storm and the sensation of cool mist against skin. As spring promises brings a change in the weather, we invite you to enjoy the beauty of rain from the warmth and comfort of your home.

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Hanami at Home

While a light chill may still hang in the air, the first blooms of delicate pink petals ensure us that spring has indeed arrived. Through this digital hanami, we invite you to explore splendor of cherry blossoms through artists' eyes.

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An Artist and His City: Getting Our Bearings

An Artist and His City invites you to explore Japan's feudal capital through the eyes of an local. But before we can explore Edo through Hiroshige's eyes, let's orient ourselves in Edo, the city at hand.

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A Closer Look: Moon of the Lonely House

From vengeful ghosts to mythical creatures, Japanese folklore teems with spine-chilling tales of the supernatural. Yet, sometimes it's the horrors enacted by humans that prove to be the most terrifying. This Halloween, we'll take a look at one such story through Yoshitoshi's Moon of the Lonely House.

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Tsukimi and the Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, which generally occurs in the third week of September. In Japan, the beauty of this special moon is celebrated with tsukimi, or "moon viewing."

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Shinrin-yoku: What is Forest Bathing?

Shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing," was created in Japan in the 1980s as a meditative and restorative interaction with nature. Tuning one's senses to the quiet sounds, fresh scent, and pure air, this meditative practice invites a peace of mind and a re-centering of oneself within the larger world.

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A Closer Look: The Yugao Chapter from The Tale of Genji

In The Yugao Chapter from the Tale of Genji, Yoshitoshi portrays the most mysterious of Genji's many lovers.

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Yoshitoshi's Masterpiece: The Flute Player

Yoshitoshi's Fujiwara no Yasumasa Plays the Flute by Moonlight is considered to be one of Yoshitoshi's definitive masterpieces and has its own interesting history. From the 1880s through today, the design has entranced collectors with its portrayal of the tale of a moonlit evening, banditry, and the power of beauty. We'll take a brief look into the history and variant states of this famous design.

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Haunted at Sea: The Tale of Yoshitsune and the Taira Ghosts

In the triptych Taira Ghosts Attacking Yoshitsune in Daimotsu Bay (1849-1852) , Kuniyoshi presents the legend of Yoshitsune and the vengeful ghosts of the Taira clan.

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The Tale of the 47 Ronin

The celebrated tale of the 47 loyal retainers stems from the historical event known as the Ako incident (1701-1704). Continuously illustrated, adapted, parodied, and performed since its occurrence at turn of the 18th century, this tale of loyalty provided irresistible inspiration for ukiyo-e artists.

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A Closer Look: Hokusai's Great Wave

No single work of Japanese art is better known than Hokusai's Under the Wave off Kanagawa, or, as it is widely known, the Great Wave.Published as part of the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (c.1830-1832), today this design has become embedded in popular culture, appearing everywhere from phone cases and emojis, to murals and political cartoons.

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How to Make a Woodblock Print

The printing process of can be hard to imagine in abstract. Let's turn to a work by Harunobu (1725-1770), father of nishiki-e, to explore the printing the printing process a block at time.

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A Closer Look: Jade Rabbit and Sun Wukong

Songoku, the Monkey King, or Sun Wukong in Chinese, is the hero of the 16th century Chinese novel The Journey to the West. Yoshitoshi presents this legendary monkey in this design from One Hundred Views of the Moon.

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The Tale of the Nine-Tailed Fox

Popular characters in Japanese myths and folklore, foxes, or kitsune, are considered intelligent, magical and associated with the Shinto spirit Inari. The enduring tale of Tamamo-no-Mae and the Emperor Konoe serves as a cautionary tale about these mystical animals.

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Shin Hanga & Hasui Kawase

In Shin Hanga & Hasui Kawase, 2018 summer intern Mei Bock explores the Shin Hanga, or "new print," movement of the twentieth century as well as one of it's movement's most important artists, Hasui Kawase.

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The Rise and Resurgence of Meisho-e

From brilliant crimson leaves of the fall to the snow-tipped peak of Mount Fuji, the natural beauty of Japan enchants its visitors. During the 19th century, ukiyo-e artists captured this beauty in spirit and form through meisho-e. By the 20th century, the genre found a distinctly modern voice and new masters through the Shin Hanga movement.

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The Fierce and Fantastic World of Kuniyoshi

Kuniyoshi embraced a phantasmagoria of the fierce, frightening, and the fantastic. In the exhibition Kuniyoshi: The Masterpieces, Ronin Gallery explores the ravenous imagination and unmatched skill of Kuniyoshi through masterpiece designs.

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Wrestling the Demon: Noriko and Ushio Shinohara

Wrestling the Demon: Noriko and Ushio Shinohara explores decades of printmaking within two storied careers—Noriko and Ushio Shinohara.

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Meet the Artist: Ushio Shinohara

In the 1960s, Ushio established himself as the enfant terrible of the Japanese art scene, where he gained particular notoriety for his boxing paintings. Ushio has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto, Museum of Modern Art New York, and the Japan Society New York, to name just a few.

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