The Ukiyo-e Moon

The Moon in Japanese Art

During the Edo period (1603-1868), ukiyo-e (浮世絵/"floating world pictures"), woodblock cuts exploded in popularity across Japan.

Throughout the Edo period, the moon remained a very popular subject for ukiyo-e art. Scenes of nightlife in Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and Kyoto and prints depicting a gigantic moon (or 'ukiyo-e moon') floating over houses, temples, and Japanese landmarks were hugely popular.

The Rimpa school was known for its half-moons, which adorned many of their paintings. Perhaps the most famous series with the ukiyo-e moon as a theme is Tsukioka Yoshitoshi's "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon" series. Most sets of the series published in 1885 underneath a full moon. "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon" was one of the last of the great ukiyo-e series to be published.