When it comes to traditional Japanese culture and art, Katsushika Hokusai’s Ukiyo-e woodblock print series Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji are amongst the most celebrated. The most famous of course is The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which shows sailors facing off a large tsunami-like wave whilst Mt. Fuji looks on from the background. This print is so famous, it would be almost impossible to find someone who has not seen it before.
But whilst Hokusai’s traditional woodblock prints live on in books and on the internet, the method of making such a print is slowly being lost to the grasp of time.

Though well-documented, artists trained in the methods of woodblock print are aging, and with limited successors and a low demand for the work itself, the practice faces the threat of disappearing altogether.

In an attempt to revive and preserve the craftsman-ship of Ukiyo-e woodblock printing techniques, a group of artists, carvers and printers from traditional Japanese art organization Hanzou have come up with a modern twist on the artform, and are releasing a collection of Hokusai-inspired woodprints featuring characters from Doraemon.

The first design of the series is based on Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji Bishū Fujimigahara, which he created when he was over 70 years old. The scene is said to be a view which was located near the present-day town of Fujimi in Nagoya city.

The eye is drawn to the large cylindrical sake tub in the foreground of the scene, which in the original work is being handcrafted by a carpenter. Looking through the tub, Mount Fuji can be seen in the far background. This composition is quite alien to us today, but during the time of Hokusai, the handcrafting of sake barrels was quite a normal sight to see.

In the remade version by the artists from Hanzou, the carpenter has been replaced by Doraemon and Nobita. The pair appear to be having lots of fun, as Mt. Fuji watches over them from a distance.
Doraemon and Nobita blend perfectly into Hokusai’s masterpiece, which has been made using the very same techniques of the Ukiyo-e artists of old.

To start off with, the team of artists first compose the scene on thin paper, which is then transferred to a block of cherry wood, where it can be used as a guide for carving. After that begins an alternating dance of carving and printing, where negative space is carved away from the wood and printed onto handmade Japanese washi paper. This alternating process is repeated until the Ukiyo-e woodblock print is revealed.

Doraemon Ukiyo-e woodblock print: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji Bishū Fujimigahara

Selling Price: 45,000 yen (plux tax and shipping fee)
Available for reservation from: Friday 8 October 2021, 12:00pm
Scheduled to be shipped from December 2021
Number of copies: Limited to 300 copies
Framed size (approximately): H 440mm x W 550mm

By - Connie Sceaphierde.