Much of Tōshūsai Sharaku, one of Japan’s most widely known ukiyo-e artists, has been shrouded in mystery since his short 10-month career as an active woodblock print artist during the Edo Period. Not even his real name is known to us, but his unique artwork is now regarded as some of the most esteemed works of the ukiyo-e genre.

In celebration of Sharaku and his influence on Japanese art, an “Inspired By” exhibition scheduled to be held during Tokyo Design Week 2016 (TDW) will be devoted solely to him, as well as a vast range of modern creations his art has inspired.


The Inspired by Sharaku Exhibition will feature works by creators influenced Sharaku from various fields, including design, art, and fashion. There will also be 28 of Sharaku’s own works on display, so visitors will be able to get a taste of both modern art and the works that gave existence to them all.

In previous years, TDW’s “Inspired By” exhibitions have displayed artwork by other famous artists like Itō Jakuchū and Katsushika Hokusai. But Sharaku’s dynamic ukiyo-e paintings will display an entirely different style. Rather than creating a woodblock print that accentuates the beauty of the subject at hand, Sharaku’s works highlights their less attractive features, for example painting the wrinkles or large noses on the faces of actors.

TDW 2016 will be held from October 26th to November 7th, so if you happen to be in Tokyo during that week, you might consider immersing yourself in modern and traditional Japanese art at the Inspired by Sharaku Exhibition.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.