Nishijima Katsuyuki: Gion, 1979

Work / Illustration

Japanese woodblock printmaker Nishijima Katsuyuki has an incredible craft

I very recently came across the perfect example to hold up when trying to explain just how good woodblock printing can be and in comparison, how Katsuyuki Nishijima makes the efforts by some other artists look like potato prints.

Stylistically the artist, who was born in 1945, is influenced by a particular genre of Japanese woodblock printing used between the 17th and 20th centuries called Ukiyo-e, which literally translates as “floating world.” Intensely crafted, masterfully coloured and, with its familiar tones and graphic outlines, the dramatically composed scenes are not unlike the bold imagery of golden age comics.

A veritable virtuoso of the medium, Nishijima renders old Japanese architecture and landscapes with a deep and personal importance “merely” because of the time taken to create them and the impossible level of labour-intensity to realise them.


Nishijima Katsuyuki


Nishijima Katsuyuki: Kisokaido


Nishijima Katsuyuki: House in Kameoka


Nishijima Katsuyuki