What is a newspaper print?

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Posted by Arnold on October 07, 2003 at 06:35:05:

I recently bought a print by Yoshitoshi from about 1887 that is characterized as a "newspaper print". It looks like a real woodblock but a Japanese friend thought that it might have been issued with a newspaper as an "entertainment" page. The text of the print describes in considerable detail a Kabuki play starring Bando Hikosaburo V. However, my Japanese friend could not relate the description of the Kabuki play which was "soap opera" to the illustration which shows a half-length portrait of an old man, with a magnificent beard, possibly a pirate, about to pull out his sword against the backdrop of an angry sea.

This raised several questions for me. Were "newpaper prints" issued with newspapers? Are they real woodblock prints? Were the subjects of these prints news stories as I thought I read elsewhere or did they serve mainly as advertisements for Kabuki theater or some other purpose? Any information about this most unusual format would be welcome.

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