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Seeking Utamaro – The Printer from Kyoto and Ukiyo-e in Paris

DOCUMENTARY

Seeking Utamaro – The Printer from Kyoto and Ukiyo-e in Paris
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Japanese Title
京の摺師~パリに渡った浮世絵~
No. of Ep
1
Genre
Documentary/4K

Synopsis

There is one printer (surishi) in Kyoto, working on the rediscovery
of woodblocks of ukiyo-e which have been buried,
never seeing the light of day. His name is Kenji Takenaka.


In Western art museums, there are “buried” ukiyo-e woodblock prints
sent adrift from Japan during the unrest that followed the Meiji Restoration
in the late 19th century. He looks for opportunities to “unearth” these
finds whenever he gets the chance.
Several years ago, he came across a certain woodblock in Paris, within the
National Library of France.
That woodblock was inscribed with a work by the most famous ukiyo-e
artist – Utamaro Kitagawa. Only 4 of Utamaro’s original woodblocks exist
in the world.
Upon negotiating based on the belief that the woodblock “unearthed” in
Paris could be the 5th, he finally received approval to print the woodblock.
A 4K camera was used to film this Kyoto woodblock artist awaiting the
recovery of ukiyo-e. Nominated for the “Rocky Award” at the 37th Banff
World Media Festival.