Japan Art and Fireflies

Japan Art and Fireflies

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The three Japanese prints in this article are focused on fireflies in the land of the rising sun. It is a time for children to enjoy and for adults to connect with childhood.

Above is a stunning print by Eishōsai Chōki, who produced stunning art during the Edo Period. He was especially active in the late eighteenth century. However, a lot of what is known about him is vague.

The enchanting print above is by Yamamoto Shoun (1870-1965). He witnessed dramatic economic, political, and social changes throughout his lifetime. Therefore, he produced prints during the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods – of Japanese history.

Above, children are enjoying the fireflies with one parent. It is easy to imagine their joy and how the sight of fireflies would stay with them during their lifetime.

The final print is by the esteemed Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915). He is famous for utilizing scenes connected to dawn, dusk, and nightfall. Therefore, the depiction of fireflies lighting up the environment during darkness suits his style of prints.

Not only was Kiyochika one of the last great ukiyo-e printmakers – but he also laid the foundation (with others) for future printmakers who worked in the style of shin hanga (new prints). Therefore, he bridged the altered times of Edo and Meiji – similar to the ukiyo-e bridge of shin hanga.

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