Kajita Hanko – On a Beach

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Additional information


Hanko, Kajita


(B) Fine Condition








Bungei Kurabu


Aiban (9″x13″)


Women / Geisha

A woman in “Yukata” (a light summer kimono) on a rocky beach depicted in the background. Frontispiece illustration for a novel, “Yuami” (“Bath”), published in Bungei Kurabu Vol.14, No.8, 1910.

The Woodblock Print

Measuring roughly 12″ by 8 1/2″ or aiban-sized, this woodblock print is in fine condition with lovely color and detail. It has the expected edge wear and light creases that are expected for its type of print, but these are very faint. Residue from being backed.

Frontispiece or Kuchi-e

Kuchi-e (口絵), literally “mouth pictures”, refers to a specific type of Japanese woodblock print that served as frontispieces for literary magazines and novels during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These prints were created by renowned artists who collaborated with publishers to produce visually striking and thematically relevant illustrations that complemented the accompanying literary works. Kuchi-e played a significant role in the popularization of ukiyo-e prints and showcased the talents of notable artists of the time (Marks, 2012).

One prominent artist associated with kuchi-e is Kaburagi Kiyokata. Known for his bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women), Kiyokata contributed numerous kuchi-e prints to literary publications. His delicate and refined style, characterized by graceful lines and vibrant colors, perfectly captured the elegance and allure of the female subjects depicted in these prints (Kobayashi, 2014).

Another notable artist associated with kuchi-e is Toshikata Mizuno. Toshikata was renowned for his historical and warrior-themed prints. His contributions to kuchi-e included illustrations featuring samurai warriors, historical events, and traditional Japanese tales. Toshikata’s dynamic compositions and attention to detail added depth and excitement to the literary works they accompanied (Marks, 2012).

The artist Gekko Ogata was also a prolific creator of kuchi-e prints. Gekko’s versatile style allowed him to capture a wide range of subjects, including landscapes, historical scenes, and genre prints. His kuchi-e illustrations often featured depictions of natural beauty, evoking a sense of tranquility and harmony that enhanced the reading experience (Kobayashi, 2014).

Other notable artists who contributed to the world of kuchi-e include Toyohara Chikanobu, Kajita Hanko, and Yamamoto Shoun. Chikanobu specialized in portraying historical events and scenes from the kabuki theater, while Hanko was known for his depictions of beautiful women. Shoun, on the other hand, incorporated Western elements into his kuchi-e prints, reflecting the influence of European art styles at the time (Marks, 2012).


  • Kobayashi, T. (2014). Takeuchi Keishu: Nihon no Nishiki-e [Takeuchi Keishu: Japanese Woodblock Prints]. Tokyo: Gakken.
  • Marks, A. (2012). Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers and Masterworks: 1680-1900. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing.

About the Artist

Kajita Hanko (1870–1917) was a notable Japanese woodblock print artist active during the late Meiji and early Taisho periods. Born in Tokyo, Hanko studied under the renowned ukiyo-e artist Ogata Gekkō, who was known for his mastery of traditional Japanese painting techniques. Under Gekkō’s mentorship, Hanko developed a deep appreciation for the bijin-ga (images of beautiful women) genre and the art of woodblock printing.

Hanko’s artistic style was influenced by the Edo-period ukiyo-e masters, particularly the works of Kitagawa Utamaro and Utagawa Kunisada, who excelled in depicting women with grace and elegance. His bijin-ga prints often featured women in fashionable attire and domestic settings, showcasing a blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics and contemporary themes. Hanko’s portrayals of women emphasized delicate lines, intricate patterns, and a sense of intimacy, reflecting the beauty and allure of the modern Japanese woman.

In addition to bijin-ga, Kajita Hanko made significant contributions to kuchi-e, which were frontispiece illustrations for literary magazines. His kuchi-e prints often accompanied serialized novels and poems, enhancing the visual appeal of these publications. Hanko’s kuchi-e illustrations displayed a keen sense of narrative and mood, capturing the essence of the literary works they adorned with evocative imagery and refined compositions.

Hanko’s style in both bijin-ga and kuchi-e prints reflected a blend of traditional ukiyo-e techniques and modern artistic sensibilities. He was known for his meticulous attention to detail, subtle use of color, and skillful composition. Hanko’s prints appealed to a broad audience and contributed to the popularity of woodblock prints during a time of cultural transition in Japan.


Merritt, Helen. (1990). “Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture.” University of Hawaii Press.
Marks, Andreas. (2010). “Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers, and Masterworks, 1680-1900.” Tuttle Publishing.
Newland, Amy Reigle. (2005). “The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties.” Hotei Publishing.