Hiroshige_Atake_sous_une_averse_soudaineTradition influences modernity. We can see that old traditional Japanese printing techniques and illustrated publications were used as source for contemporary manga and anime, but they were also influential to classic Western European illustration and comics, like for example Tintin from the Belgian artist Hergé.

Hergé was one of the first European comic artists that used a style that was later coined ‘Klare Lijn’ (clear line). Hergé had great admiration for the old Japanese art of woodblock printing, a technique made world famous by the artists Hiroshige or Hokusai among others. Woodblock printing already existed in China way before Japan or the West, but was perfected by the Japanese who invented complex methods of using different blocks for multi colored prints, strongly influenced by color prints the Jesuits brought from Europe (chiaroscuro woodcut 1500). It’s interesting to see how much back and forth cross cultural influencing and adaptation there was between the East and the West. Who exactly influenced whom in the end?

Hiroshige – Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake (Ohashi Atake no Yudachi)




Also Read a great review of a new book on Hokusai: The Magician of Manga here.

Woodblock print display at the Edo Museum in Tokyo
The Tower Under Construction from Henri Riviere (1888-1902)
A print from The Blue Lotus by Hergé (1907-1983): influenced by Chinese woodblock prints.

Naruto Shippūden Manga by Masashi Kishimoto (1974 – )

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In May 2016 we visited Tokyo during the Asian residency of the EMBA program at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership.  These are my personal views on what I encountered during my stay.