About Edo Tokyo Kirari Project
The masterpieces of the long-established shops, the craftsmanship and the food culture are irreplaceable “Treasures of Tokyo”. We would like to introduce the charm of them to the people of the world and hope to use them in their daily life, and win their sympathy as the “Tokyo brand” for inheriting the “Treasures of Tokyo” to the future. The Edo Tokyo Kirari Project is a project of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that started with such ambition as above.
Takahashi Kobo was selected to this project as Edo woodblock prints, and has been participated from 2019.
Takahashi Kobo is certified as a preservation organization for selected conservation techniques (restoration section) by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, with the aim of preserving the techniques and transmitting the traditions of Edo woodblock printing.
Although we talk about restoration, the reality is that most of the woodblocks used to print Edo woodblock prints have been lost, meaning there is nothing tangible to restore. As such, the fact that we have been able to acquire old, in-tact woodblocks is incredibly fortunate, and represents a valuable opportunity to engage in the sort of restoration we should have been doing all along.
While adopting Hokusai and Hiroshige as headliners has enabled Japan’s ukiyo-e to achieve even greater recognition both domestically and internationally, it seems like there is renewed interest in the pictures of Yoshitoshi, known sometimes as “the last ukiyo-e artist”. While following in the footsteps of those headlining artists who built the ukiyo-e world and conforming to traditional Japanese sentiment, Yoshitoshi strove to improve the precision of his depictions, in line with the changes of the time.
Many of Yoshitoshi’s pictures take what we might call typically Japanese subject matters, the warriors and women in kimono so popular with Western audiences, and depict them in what still today impress as dramatic compositions and in rich detail. Personally, I believe that he calls to mind Japan’s manga culture. In this sense, Yoshitoshi’s work also aligns well with the “Cool Japan” brand and I believe that overseas demand for his work is growing.
As part of this project, we restore the old woodblocks and introduce the art works of Yoshitoshi to the world including the United Kingdom.