Global Release of Limited Edition Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence’s 20th Anniversary!

Ghost-in-the-Shell-2-Innocences-Ukiyo-e-banner Global Release of Limited Edition Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints for  Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence’s 20th Anniversary!

What You Need to Know:

  • Tokyo Dub Agent Company, Ltd. announced the global release of ukiyo-e woodblock prints featuring Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004), the sequel to the iconic Japanese animated feature film Ghost in the Shell (1995). This product will be released by AKIHABARA PREMIUM COLLECTION, an EC platform known for bringing together Akihabara’s otaku culture and the Japanese passion for craftsmanship. Prints will be available for purchase from 12:00 (JST) on March 23, 2024.
  • This ukiyo-e release will also come in an Artist Collaboration Special Frame Edition, limited to 30 copies worldwide. The lattice art frame for this piece was designed by sculptor Tomoichi Fujita.
  • The First Ukiyo-E Woodblock Print for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence on Its 20th Anniversary

    Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence takes place in the year 2032, where people have undergone cyberization, enabling digital communication through networks without speaking or typing on computer terminals. Simultaneously, the trend of modifying the human body leads to the coexistence of humans, cyborgs, and robots.

    Following the 1995 classic Ghost in the Shell and the latest work Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is receiving its own ukiyo-e woodblock prints for the first time.

    Regarding the Creation of Ukiyo-E Woodblock Prints

    Ukiyo-e stands as a representation of traditional crafts in Japan. However, the entire industry is on the brink of crisis, with the number of artisans who continue to pass down this traditional technique from the Edo period dwindling to just a few dozen across the country.

    Despite efforts to train the younger generation, the reality is that daily production and the demand for the necessary raw materials is decreasing, leading to a decline in the overall number of artisans.

    In collaboration with the artisans (painters, engravers, and printers) who continue to pass down these traditional woodblock printing techniques, our goal is to introduce the beauty of ukiyo-e to people worldwide from a fresh perspective by combining traditional craftsmanship with Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. In doing so, we hope to contribute to the preservation and development of this esteemed Japanese craft.

    We aspire to deliver to you the essence of traditional Japanese craftsmanship.

    Key Features of This Work

    Why we chose a gynoid for the ukiyo-e design instead of the protagonist Batou or the most iconic character, Motoko Kusanagi?

    Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence revolves around an investigation of a murder spree caused by malfunctioning Hadaly 2052 gynoids, human-like female robots designed for pleasure. Through this investigation, the film explores the philosophical aspects of the relationship between “humans” and “dolls,” as well as the connection between the “soul” and “body.” The cut of the gynoid, which appears in a scene involving a memorable conversation with the forensic investigator Haraway, is truly emblematic of the film. Therefore, we have chosen it as the subject matter for the ukiyo-e woodblock print.

    We invite you to appreciate the universally philosophical essence at the core of the film through an ukiyo-e woodblock print that is meticulously handcrafted by artisans down to the finest detail.

    Why we chose a floating frame?
    This work is framed using the floating method, which involves creating spaces on all sides of the piece, giving the impression that it is suspended within the frame. In the previously mentioned scene, many gynoids are sealed and suspended in preservation fluid for autopsies. The floating framing method is not only reminiscent of such scenes but was also considered the most effective way to emphasize the emptiness and lack of a soul within the dolls.

    Lattice Explanation

    I wanted to create the frame artwork purely because Ghost in the Shell and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence are two of my favorite movies. Although I’ve created various framed pieces in the past, I wanted to do something different for this one. One recurring theme in my work has been shrines, and I wanted to incorporate those shapes into this frame. When I was considering what kinds of shrines to reference, I recalled the festive scene from the film where a float moves through the city. The temple on the float had a distinctive Chinese feel with elaborate roofs, and I wanted to use that as one of the motifs. The decorations on the roofs are somewhat colorful, so I thought it would be interesting to create contrast using acrylic colors.

    Another motif I wanted to express within the frame is the Asian lattice pattern. In the film, this pattern is scattered throughout the backgrounds, symbolically placed in various significant scenes, and it’s done in a way that it seems to blend seamlessly with the European Gothic architecture. I don’t know if the story takes place in Hong Kong or somewhere else, but the chaotic elements in the backgrounds are fascinating, and I tried to reflect that in the frame.

    Engraver: Kayoko Suga
    After graduating from high school, she applied to become an apprentice artisan in the Arakawa Artisan Training Project in Arakawa Ward, Tokyo. Following a seven-year apprenticeship as an engraver for Edo woodblock prints, she went independent. Currently, she contributes to the cultural inheritance of ukiyo-e woodblock prints with exceptional skills as one of the few female artisans certified by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

    Conducted a demonstration at the Oedo Happyaku Yacho Exhibition at the Edo-Tokyo Museum in 2003
    Conducted a demonstration at the Meisho Edo Hyakkei Kansei Anniversary Exhibition at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi in 2005
    Conducted a demonstration at the Hokusai Manga Exhibition at the Edo-Tokyo Museum in 2008
    Member of the Association for Preserving the Technical Skills of Carving and Printing Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints
    Member of the Tokyo Traditional Woodblock Print Association

    Printer: Takuya Okada
    Born in 1983 in Ibaraki Prefecture
    After graduating from high school, he studied Buddha statue sculpture at the Traditional Arts Super College of Kyoto, and after graduation, he studied printing at Watanabe Mokuhan. In 2012, he went independent.
    With an approximately 8-year career under his belt, he possesses high skills as a printer.

    Watanabe Mokuhan is a representative publisher of new prints, exemplified by the artist Hasui Kawase. During his time there, Okada mastered various techniques commonly used in new prints, such as blending and blurring. For this work, he proposed the techniques of spraying and attaching gold and platinum. In addition to traditional techniques, he is a new-generation printer actively engaged in exploring innovative printing methods.

    He is an artisan certified by the Agency for Cultural Affairs as having the skills to preserve selected intangible cultural properties.

    Member of the Tokyo Traditional Woodblock Print Association

    Calligrapher: Ryoko Fujiura

    Sculpter: Tomoichi Fujita
    Born in 1976 in Chiba Prefecture
    Graduated from Hida International School of Craft & Design, Department of Woodworking

    Selected for the 24th Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art

    2015: Group exhibition “TENGAI 2.0” curated by Tenmyouya Hisashi (Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery, Tokyo)
    2016: Solo exhibition “Stories Born from Wood - Collaboration Exhibition between Contemporary Artist Tomoichi Fujita and Prefectural Art Collection Artists” (Chiba Prefectural Art Museum)
    2017: Solo exhibition “Various Dignities” (Chiba Bank Himawari Gallery, Tokyo) and group exhibition “Mitsukoshi Art 110th Anniversary - HOPES - Next Generation Selection Exhibition” (Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi)
    2018: Solo exhibition “Man of the Castle” (Gallery Maruhi, Tokyo)
    2019: Solo exhibition “Impractical Honor” (Gallery Mumon, Tokyo) and group exhibition “Eve of Break Exhibition - Next Generation Artists” (Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery, Tokyo)
    2020: Solo exhibition “Fuso Country” (Art Gallery X, Nihonbashi Takashimaya)
    2021: Group exhibition “24th Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art Exhibition” (Kawasaki City Okamoto Taro Museum)
    2023: Solo exhibition “NEO TOKYO” (Art Gallery X, Nihonbashi Takashimaya) (Gallery Next, Osaka Takashimaya)

    I was born and raised in Japan.

    Before turning my attention abroad, I felt a desire to deepen my understanding of my own country. I have visited shrines, temples, and traditional Japanese architecture across various regions of Japan.

    As I travel to various places once again, I find myself pondering questions. How have shrines and temples evolved throughout history, adapting to the changing times? How have architectural styles responded to the influence of science and other civilizations? How have people engaged with and practiced faith in religions such as Buddhism and Shintoism? And how have rulers utilized religion as a symbol of authority to grasp the hearts of the people?

    To answer these questions, I interweave traditional architecture and historical events, reimagining and expressing them through the use of contemporary materials and craftsmanship techniques in my artwork.

    Product Information

    Innocence Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print
    “Ghost in the Shell 2: Muku” Standard Frame Edition

    Price: 65,000 yen + tax and shipping fees
    Quantity: Limited to 300 copies worldwide
    Frame box & ukiyo-e woodblock print certificate included

    Dimensions: Picture (W: approx. 243 mm × H: approx. 363 mm) / Frame (W: approx. 432 mm × H: approx. 547 mm × D: approx. 40 mm)
    Frame: Wood, plywood back frame
    Mat: Paper
    Washi: Echizen Kizuki Hosho by Living National Treasure Ichibei Iwano
    Engraver: Kayoko Suga
    Printer: Takuya Okada

    The artwork is delivered in an original ukiyo-e pattern frame box.
    It comes with a certificate validating that it was produced using traditional Ukiyo-e woodblock print techniques.

    Innocence Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print
    “Ghost in the Shell 2: Muku” Special Frame Edition

    Price: 450,000 yen + tax and shipping fees
    Quantity: Limited to 30 copies worldwide
    Frame box & ukiyo-e woodblock print certificate included
    Dimensions: Picture (W: approx. 243 mm × H: approx. 363 mm) / Frame (W: approx. 463 mm × H: approx. 560 mm × D: approx. 60 mm)


Source: Official Press Release