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Chronicle of the Imperial Restoration (Kōkoku isshin kenbunshi)

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Chronicle of the Imperial Restoration (Kōkoku isshin kenbunshi)

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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Japanese, 1839–1892)
Meiji period (1868–1912)

The year 1868 was a turning point in the history of the Japan. Assimilation of western models influenced almost all spheres of life, and of course, art. During the first two decades of the Meiji period (1868-1912). The changes that took place since the Meiji Restoration were swift. The world of ukiyo-e, the traditional Japanese woodblock printing mirrored these new trends. In this first period, artists such as Hiroshige III used the traditional techniques of the ukiyo-e to mainly represent modernization and life in the big cities. We see new architecture, load carts, carriages and street trolleys drawn by horses, aerostatic balloons, steamships, and Japanese people in western fashion clothes. A new trend within the ukiyo-e that began to integrate new elements of western aesthetics to Japanese printing along with the rise in nostalgia, when fresh and delicate women were painted by artists like Utamaro and Kiyonaga.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Japanese: 月岡 芳年; also named Taiso Yoshitoshi 大蘇 芳年; 30 April 1839 – 9 June 1892) is widely recognized as the last great master of the ukiyo-e genre of woodblock printing and painting. He is also regarded as one of the form's greatest innovators. His career spanned two eras – the last years of Edo period Japan, and the first years of modern Japan following the Meiji Restoration. Like many Japanese, Yoshitoshi was interested in new things from the rest of the world, but over time he became increasingly concerned with the loss of many aspects of traditional Japanese culture, among them traditional woodblock printing.

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1876
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Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

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