New Hasui Book Review Given

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Posted by Thomas Crossland ( on August 11, 2003 at 19:48:06:

In Reply to: New Hasui Book - Reviews? posted by Jackson Landers on August 06, 2003 at 18:02:41:

Having now had a copy of this new "Kawase Hasui -- The Complete Woodblock Prints" two-volume bookset in-hand since early July, I can assure you that it have proven to be a delightful reference to use on a daily basis. In addition to a short “book review” that we wrote several months ago (see below), I can now add the following information.

As a heavy, large 2-volume bookset, immediately you will note that ALL of the 600-plus color plates are conveniently grouped together within the bookset’s first volume. At exactly 600 pages, this first volume is “color images only,” with only small “title and date” provided as a sub-text next to each print. Hence, many of these images are quite large, varying from many full-page plates to other pages with 2 to 3 to sometimes 4 images. In total, 613 specific “color prints designs” are listed—however, quite a few of these are also illustrated as “multiple plates,” showing variant color designs—I’d therefore guess perhaps 700 or so color images in total.

This design leaves the bookset’s second volume as a largely “text only” reference. This second volume begins first with two lengthy essays, both by Kendall H. Brown. First is a 10-page general essay about “Shin-hanga in Modern Japan,” which is then followed by a detailed and entertaining 20-page essay about “The Life and Art of Kawase Hasui.” Immediately following these are a 3-page article written by Watanabe Shoichiro (present day owner of Watanabe Publishing and grandson of Watanabe Shozaburo) describing the various “Watanabe Seals on Prints of Kawase Hasui.”

Following then (in bookset’s second volume) are 86 pages of “Notes to the Catalogue” which give detailed notes about each of the first volume’s 613 color plate images. In addition to “technical notes” about each print (title in both English and Japanese, date, publisher, series, etc), many of these prints are further described in detail as to location, publication details, etc—these various notations and commentaries having been drawn (and translated) from Hasui scholar Narazaki Muneshige who wrote about these same prints in his landmark (and now notoriously expensive, at $2000+) 1979 Hasui reference, “Kawase Hasui Mokuhanga.”

Lastly, this second volume additionally shows yet another 124 Hasui images in black-and-white, they are: 82 postcard-sized prints, 24 doll prints, 6 lantern prints, and 12 more large-postcard prints. A detailed Appendix of publishers’ seals and a useful Hotei # to Narazaki # cross-reference ends this volume. (As a repeat, pages 169-271 of this second volume then duplicate the above English text as Japanese text.)

In summary, no finer or more detailed Hasui reference is (or will likely ever) be available. The USA distributor’s first shipment of 600 books became “sold out” almost immediately—more copies, I understand, are on the way.

An earlier “review” of this "Kawase Hasui -- The Complete Woodblock Prints" (and other books) is available for viewing at our website’s

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