JAPAN WATCH REPORT


The secret calendars of Japanese prints

HISTORY

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July 2019


The secret calendars of Japanese prints

To circumvent the state monopoly on calendars, ingenious Japanese craftsmen designed prints that revealed – to initiates only – the alternation of short and long months. It was a system that lasted until the 19th century.

T

he Japanese prints known as “Ukiyo-e”, which appeared at the beginning of the 17th century in the city of Edo (the future Tokyo), find their origin in the printing of popular and religious images on paper using engraved wooden plates. The main advantage of this process was that it allowed the serial reproduction of images and writings.


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