Motoharu Asaka

Master Woodblock Carver

Ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking which blossomed during the Edo period—Japan’s indigenous cultural legacy!

Enji Takamisawa,  (1890-1927) poured all his efforts into attaining the highest levels of traditional skill to faithfully reproduce and continue the tradition of ukiyoe prints, beloved by the world and which had a great impact on the world of art throughout the second half of the 19th century with Gogh, Monet and the European impressionists.  Motoharu Asaka apprenticed under the guidance of his brother Tadao Takamisawa (1899-1985), and today continues to preserve the tradition and nurture new generations of woodblock carvers through his workshop, Takumi Hanga Kobo Fureaikan.

This workshop is located in a shitamachi (old downtown district) area, close to Shinjuku which still retains the warmth and closeness of this working neighborhood. Close by are the children’s library and kindergarten and little Sakura Park, loved by the local residents. It is a quiet and wonderful place to attend woodblock printing classes in the heart of Tokyo.


1951 Born in Toi, Shizuoka Prefecture
1962 Attended Bunkyo Ward-Established, Yushima Elementary School, try woodblock printing for the first time
1963 At Bunkyo Ward-established, No. 4 Middle School, learn multi-color printing for the first time from teacher, Mr. Yabusaki
1967 Study under ukiyoe publisher Tadao Takamisawa while attending Machida Municipal High School

1968 Became an apprentice to ukiyoe woodblock carver, Kojiro Kikuta.
1979 Begin teaching woodblock printing
1985 After 17 years of training, become the in-house woodblock carver at Takamisawa Publishers
1987 Studied with ukiyoe woodblock carvers Hanbei Ookura and、Shigeo Kijima
1990 Begin demonstrating woodblock printing at the Hokusai museum in Obuse, Nagano(every other year)
1999 Solo exhibition at Tokyu department store in Tama Plaza
Together with ukiyoe printer, Satoshi Hishimura, prepare an independent workshop in Nishi-Waseda
Studied printing under Hishimura.
Became the exclusive carver and printer of Takehisa Yumeji woodblock prints for Minatoya Ltd.
2000 Held woodblock carving demonstrations and printmaking workshops at有楽町朝日ホール、丸善日本橋ギャラリー、銀座ポーラミュージアムアネックス、Edo Tokyo Museum (Ryogoku)、日本橋三越本店、日本橋はいばらギャラリー、墨田区ギャラリー、Sumida Riverside Hall、兵庫県朝来芸術の森美術館

2011 Direct all efforts to finding a successor, established the woodblock printing classroom and studio in Tomihisacho, Shinjuku
Awarded Tokyo Meister(Excellence in craftsmanship)
2012 Certified as a Tokyo Traditional Craftsman
Certified as a Japanese Traditional Craftsman by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Solo exhibition at Ozu Washi gallery in Nihonbashi
Demonstration/workshop at London Tattoo Convention
Demonstration/workshop at East London Printmakers
Lecture at SOAS university, London
Demonstration/workshop at Amsterdam Tattoo Museum
Solo exhibition, demonstration and workshop at Solveig gallery, Helsinki
Lecture and demonstration at Aalto University, Helsinki
Head of the secretariat for the Ukiyoe Carving and Printing Association, authorised by the Minister of Education
On the board of directors for the Tokyo Dento Mokuhanga Kougei Kyodo Kumiai (Tokyo traditional woodblock print craft cooperative partnership)
Officer of the Tokyo Mokuhanga Kogei Kumiai (Tokyo Woodblock Print Crafts Association)

Major Works

Ukiyoe Harunobu Suzuki・座敷八景(8図)喜多川歌麿・版画集芳(28図)
Tōshūsai Sharaku・大首役者絵集(32図)Katsushika Hokusai・Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji(46 images)
Unusual Views of Celebrated Bridges in the Provinces・A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces・Oceans of Wisdom
Utagawa Hiroshige・53 Stations of the Tōkaidō(55 images)・One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, etc.
Katsushika Hokusai・花鳥図「菊に虻」「牡丹に蝶」「朝顔に蛙」「杜若にきりぎりす」「桔梗に蜻蛉」
Hasui Kawase・Shiba Zōjō-ji

Nihonga National Treasure(東京国立博物館正式許可作品)
- 雪舟等楊・秋冬山水図(秋の図・冬の図)
- 長谷川等伯・松林図(左図・右図)
National Treasure(Tokyo National Museum)虚堂智愚墨蹟
National Treasure(Tokyo National Museum) 園悟克勤(流れ園悟)印可状
Tokyo National Museum Collection Maruyama Ōkyo 朝顔狗子図
Tokyo National Museum Collection Sakai Hōitsu 四季花鳥図巻(春の図・夏の図・秋の図・冬の図)
Ikuo Hirayama・(流沙月光)東山魁夷・(月唱)・(谿若葉)
Yokoyama Taikan・(正気放光)・(或る日の太平洋)・(霊峰四趣・秋の図)
Togyu Okumura・(ペルシャ壷牡丹)安田靫彦・(紅花白瓶)
Gyoshū Hayami・(夜桜・鍋島の皿に柘榴)、菱田春草 ・(湖辺の白鷺)
Takehisa Yumeji・(女十題・黒舟屋・青い酒・宝船・宵待草に題す)港屋版・多数
Junichi Nakahara・(娘十二ヶ月)
Masami Teraoka • (AIDS/Bath・McDonald's Hamburgers)
Moira Hahn (夜のおやつ蒼い月)