Edo MokuhangaEdo Mokuhanga

Edo Mokuhanga came to color color by writing brush on the print of one color of sumi, and these progressed as black and white woodcut with simple colors added, rouge color print, lacquer block, but invention to print color on in woodcut was done, and it was possible for two or three colors of shokusuribankaku (printed ukiyoe). Furthermore, in 1765 (Meiwa 2), we printed to money and silver and were crowded and came to be able to print off intermediate color with xylograph, too, and style of polychromatic woodcut print was established.
Skills and techniques of production of Edo Mokuhanga is established in the Edo era and the skills and techniques develops while repeating improvement and is succeeded until today and is made traditionally led by Tokyo.

Edo Mokuhanga are woodblock prints that began with a black print that was then colored with a brush.
They evolved into "tane", "benie", and "urushie", eventually resulting in a printing technique where the colors were applied to the wood print and printed directly, followed by two and three-color prints (benizurie). Further in 1765, gold and silver began being printed, and secondary colors also began to be printed, and the multicolored style was established.
The techniques and skills used in Edo Mokuhanga wood block printing were established in the Edo period, and these techniques have continued to be improved upon, carrying on the present day where they are still produced mainly in the Tokyo region.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    When "carve", and look good, thing by the next technique or technique.

    "Sumi board" carve sumi line drawn on abozzo of "block copy picture" with sumi with knife.

    When "you kidnap" and look good, perform using chisel.

    Only or knife carve reverse L-shaped "key guess" and "convulsions guess" in right angle to 2 centimeters from blank lower right one of "woodcut".

    "Block for color printing carving" "prints collation", and only or knife carve part every each color to board using one piece.

    When "print", and look good, thing by the next technique or technique.

    When you look good with "proof sheet", you surround bamboo sheath with stick and made in small broom type, and you carry paint on "the woodcut" using "time stick", and open paint by brush.

    You put paper to "guess" and be crowded and print power from the back side of Washi Paper and, using "horse ream," is crowded, and you print paint to the inside of fiber, and be crowded.

    What we print paint from light color on dark color by block for color printing separated by color in sequence and repeat.

    When "print book", and look good, thing by technique like "proof sheet" or technique.

    Raw materials

    When you look good with "woodcut", do with material having "pure board" using cherrywood or materials which are equal to these.

    Washi Paper assumes "making pure Japanese paper order".

    When "dosa is discounted" and looks good, use liquid which you mix glia and alum and weakened with water.


  • ・Work scenery

    Work scenery

  • ・Close-up



Industrial art object name Edo Mokuhanga
Phonetic symbol edomokuhanga
Classification of industrial art object Other Crafts
Main product Woodcut
Main production area Tokyo / Tokyo / Arakawa-ku, Shinjuku-ku, Adachi-ku, Taito-ku, Chuo-ku, Bunkyo-ku, Meguro-ku, Nerima-ku, Nishitokyo-shi Chiba / Matsudo-shi Ibaraki / Joso-shi
The designation date March 9, 2007

Contact information

■local production associations

Tokyo tradition woodcut industrial arts cooperative association
2-4-19, Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
TEL: 03-3830-6780
FAX: 03-3830-6781

■We visit production center from foreign countries
Edo Mokuhanga - production center visit article

■Associated exhibit space, facility


We copy living of thing coherent to life of Edo general public namely general public and carve with joy, and thing which we print dream and admiration and gave is characteristic of Edo Mokuhanga. In addition, the feature is that hundreds of woodcuts are made from one set of woodcut in large quantities.

The images closely reflect the lifestyle of the common Edo people, in other words, the everyday lives of the people and their joys are carved, their dreams and wishes are printed up on Edo mokuhanga prints.
One set of woodblocks can produce several hundred copies, so another characteristic is that they can be made in mass quantities.

How to make

We use board of natural cherry tree as woodcut, and engraver engraves on this, and dye-rubbing worker attaches paint to completed woodcut and picks up making paper by hand Washi Paper from woodcut and prints in horse ream made with bamboo sheath and leaf from paper. We cannot but rely for manual labor that to affect the process of the next woodcut print even if depth of carving is too deep even if too shallow, and printing changes quantity of paint to pick up on woodcut by external changes such as temperature or humidity and finishes work because engraver, delicate adjustment by experience of dye-rubbing worker each are necessary. In addition, thing more than 30 times has the frequency to print, and to repeat, and extremely minute manual industry characteristics are demanded.

Natural cherry wood boards are used for the woodcut, and a carving artist carves it, then a printing artist applies ink to the finished woodcut, places a piece of handmade washi paper on it, then rubs the paper into the woodcut with a baren press made of bamboo bark and leaves.
If the cuts are too deep or too shallow, this can impact the printing, and outside factors such as temperature and humidity must be accounted for by adjusting the amount of ink used. The finished product is a result of long years of experience on the part of the carver and printer, making fine adjustments, which is why this process can never be automated. Some works use over 30 woodcuts to create a single print, which requires extremely delicate handiwork.