Japanese Woodblock Prints

Ota Masamitsu

Masamitsu Ota also known as Ōta Gako (1892–1975) was a Japanese print-maker. He was one of the masters of the shin hanga movement. His work consisted mostly of kabuki actor prints that emphasized the individual personality of the actors, showcased through rich colors and exquisite patterns of complex design.

Ota had a lifelong involvement with kabuki theater, illustrating volumes on major kabuki plays and famous kabuki costumes. His two most important set of actor prints, Showa Butai Sugata (1950) and Gendai Butai Geika (1955) were published by the Banchoro studio. These sets, of twelve prints each, exhibit a very high level of realism, achieved through the use of western techniques of perspective and through beautiful shading (bokashi) and attention to detail.

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