Video Games Inspiration for the Dying Art Of Japanese Woodprinting


4 | How Video Games Revived The Dying Art Of Japanese Woodprinting | Co.Design | business + design

Whether Hyrule or the Mushroom Kingdom, we’re used to video game heroes saving their own respective pixel worlds. This is the story of how video game characters like Mario, Link, and Kirby helped save a “floating world” (literally translated): ukiyo-e, a genre in the ancient craft of Japanese woodprinting. After artistically languishing for most of the 20th century, the craft is in the process of being discovered by a whole new generation, thanks to Ukiyo-E Heroes, a collaboration between American illustrator Jed Henry and British craftsman David Bull that reimagines popular video game characters in the context of medieval Japan.

Of all the visual art the West associates with ancient Japan, woodprints are probably the most well known. You may not have ever heard the term ukiyo-e before, or know how a Japanese woodprint is made, but if you’ve ever seen a copy of The Great Wave off Kanagawa or The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, you know the style.

Read the rest of the story and peruse the gallery via 4 | How Video Games Revived The Dying Art Of Japanese Woodprinting | Co.Design | business + design.

4 | How Video Games Revived The Dying Art Of Japanese Woodprinting | Co.Design | business + design

10 comments

  1. Wow, that is impressive. Great pieces of art…it is great to see people appreciating the gifts of the past, especially in such a tech-dominated world. The two coming together is perfect.

  2. I think it is worth noting that this sort of thing happens easier with crowdfunding. I can’t think of any individual or organized group dropping $10,400 in commissions let alone the $313,341 that was raised [unless of course that person dropping the money was secretly looking to overcharge for them and make more money : ( ]. You see something similar with independent musicians who set up Pay-what-You-Want downloads as opposed to finding a record label.

    Also they do look awesome.

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