The art of ukiyo-e involves cutting designs into a wood block with a variety of razor-sharp tools; each designed to achieve a different effect or stroke on the wood. Ink is rolled on the block and the design is printed on rice paper.
Subject matter varies from kabuki scenes, landscapes and erotica to Samurai portraits. The Akasaka Collection includes more than 1000 prints with prices ranging from $100 to $5000.
Featured in the photo is ”Strolling”: the appearance of an upper class wife of the Meiji era. This famous and important print by Yoshitoshi epitomizes the incongruities of the collision between traditional and modernizing Japan. In the late 1880’s affluent women began to incorporate western fashion into their everyday style. The reaction to this western trend was fierce. Conservatives denounced this trend as barbaric. However, Yoshitoshi’s work was extraordinarily popular and this is one of his most beloved designs.