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Art of the Game: Ukiyo-e Heros

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Guadalupe Moreno
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Topic Posts: 6
Art of the Game: Ukiyo-e Heros

The documentary Art of the Game: Ukiyo-e Heroes focuses on a Canadian craftsman and an American designer with a father and son generation gap who collaborate to revive the ancient Japanese woodcut, Ukiyo-e, using pop-culture icons. This documentary is a great film to show students because it demonstrates a variety of trades within Japan, the art-making process of traditional Japanese art and contemporary graphic design, the determination necessary to thrive, and the multiple career possibilities one can have within the artworld. 

Focusing on the generation gap, it can become relevant to the concepts being used to create the Ukiyo-e. Most importantly, the collaboration shows how well traditional artworks can work well with contemporary art. This is a concept I try to teach my students in my cultural art course. Appreciation of cultural art is important for students to learn before college. 

I would use this documentary to inspire my students create their own Ukiyo-e prints. The fact that it focuses on the process the artist goes through such as sketching, improvements, references, and more only shows students what they learn in my course can and is applied to real 21st century applications. 


Katharine Davis
Topic replies: 17
Topic Posts: 8
Ukiyo-e Heroes

I had no idea there was a film! Thank you so much for sharing!

I recently bought three of these prints for my brother, as we both share a love for Japanese art/style and video games! Have you checked out their website? They have amazing stuff! I want to decorate my classroom with so many of their prints. I think my students would LOVE it!

Kayla Kolean
Topic replies: 47
Topic Posts: 6
Modern revitalization

I teach a unit of Ukiyo-e to my Japanese 2 class. I would be very interested in adding this film to my additional resources for students to view if they are interested. Would this be alright for middle school and high school students?

Our lessons also try to show students all the work that goes into these prints (in Edo Japan the artistis would sketch, get government approval, send it to wood block carvers, check the carvings, then create a print using a set of carved blocks). I would love to show them how this is done still today by hobbiests and traditional artists! 

Looking at the movie page for this film on IMDB, I noticed that the prints this artist made are ones I have seen are like prints I have seen from other modern Ukiyo-e artists on Instagram and Etsy where they use pop culture and modern references like game characters in their Ukiyo-e prints.

Thank you for the wonderful suggestion!

-Kayla Kolean