Japanese Crowdfund Gets Overwhelming Response for Star Wars Ukiyo-e Prints

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

The internationally beloved sci-fi series Star Wars has inspired adaptations in numerous styles, from CG-animated cartoons to manga by Toshiki Kudo and Kia Asamiya. Recent merchandise has gone back to Darth Vadar's samurai roots with dolls and coins.

A Japanese crowdfunding campaign is expanding on the idea with officially licensed ukiyo-e prints of Darth Vader, the Battle of Hoth, and Queen Amidala.

Fan response was overwhelming. The campaign raised 11,988,000 yen (about US$96,767) —799% of its target — with 37 days remaining. The Darth Vadar prints completely sold out.

The art is created with a small staff including painter Masumi Ishikawa who studied under Utagawa Toyokuni VI until his death in 2000. Utagawa Toyokuni is a named passed down through students of the Utagawa school, the most esteemed ukiyo-e school in Japan. Ishikawa was self-taught after the death of his teacher and was since hired to work on ukiyo-e prints for the Miyagino film and other products. He was recently hired to create woodblock prints for the band KISS.

The blocks are carved by Kazuo Watanabe and Yūsuke Sekioka. Hideo Yoshida paints and applies the blocks. The blocks are carved using the same tradition established in the Edo period.

The art is delivered in a tatami box. The staff plans to make a limit of 200 prints per design. Due to the time intensive nature of creating each print, they sell for 50,000 yen (about US$400) while a set of all three is 150,000 yen (US$1,210). However, Darth Vadar is now sold out.

[Via The Verge]

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