Moku Hanga

Sources for Supplies

A Brief Glossary of Japanese Terms

Japanese Term Meaning
aisuki bull nosed knife/chisel
ategami thin waterproof paper sometimes placed on top of the print paper to protect it during impressions
bake brush
baren flat round disk used to rub the paper to transfer ink from a carved block
baren wata cotton wool (wata) pad upon which the baren is laid between impressions and where it receives camellia oil
bijin beautiful women (as subject for images); the corresponding genre is bijin-e
bokashi graduated color
chu-ban standard print size: half an oban sheet: about 25.5cm x 19cm (~ 10" x 7.5")
dosa sizing
Edo previous name for Tokyo; also, Japanese historical period: the Edo period ran from the ascension of Takugawa Ieyasu as Shogun in 1603 through 1867-68
futa-iro-bokashi two color gradation
gomo-zuri grainy printing (gomo = sesame seed)
hanga bake printing brush (has a handle)
hanshita original line drawing
Heisei historical period in Japan, 1989-present
hikitsuke (kento) straight line kento
hira-to, hira-nomi flat bladed knife/chisel
hon real, genuine, as in hon-baren or hon-zuri = final edition printing as opposed to test printing
hori-dai carving bench (bench hook)
iro-ban woodblocks for printing color
ita-bokashi graduated color created by carving a gradual slope into the block
kagi (kento) right angle kento
kento registration mark: kagi is the right angled kento, and hikitsuke is the straight line kento
kento-nomi chisel designed for cutting kento
kentomi-zuri test printing
kizuchi wooden mallet
ko strand, as in 16-ko (baren)
koban paper size: one quarter of an oban, about 19cm x 13cm (~ 7.5" x 5")
komasuki u-shaped knife (see also maru-nomi)
kozo species of Mulberry who pulp is used for papermaking; other fibers used for paper are gampi (now scarce) and mitsumata (some paper uses more than one fiber type)
kuchi-e woodblock printing genre consisting of illustrations for novels and literary magazines
kyogo impression from the key block used to carve color blocks
lauan very grainy wood used for printing blocks (not a Japanese term)
maru bake round cornered handless brush (maru = circle)
maru-nomi u-gouge (see also komasuki)
Meiji period in Japanese history beginning with the restoration of the powers of the emperor in 1867-68 through his death in 1912
minogami thin paper used for pasting the original design and key block prints to wood blocks for carving (traditionally made in the Mino region)
mizu bake water brush (mizu = water)
moku hanga woodblock printing (moku = wood, hanga = print)
nomi chisel
nuriwaki applying different colors on separate areas of a block
oban most common standard print size: about 38cm x 25.5cm (~ 15"x10")
pla plastic, as in pla-baren
ryomen-zuri printing on both sides of a sheet of paper
sakura cherry wood (aka yamasakura)
sankaku-to v-gouge
sengaki outline drawing for the key block
shima nonprinting islands left uncarved in the block to support the paper
shin hanga literally "new print": 20th century movement to revitalize woodblock printing, c.1910-60
shina basswood
Showa historical period in Japan, 1926-1989 (reign of Emperor Hirohito)
soai-nomi bull nosed chisel (typically large)
sumi black ink made from soot (carbon)
sumiban key block
Taisho historical period in Japan, 1912-1926
takenokawa bamboo leaf sheath used to cover a baren
tataki-zuri inking block by tapping it with a cloth or brush, producing blotches
to knife; also the angled blade knife used for outlining (aka hangi to, sho to)
tokibo small brush used for transferring pigment to the block
tsubaki-abura camellia oil
ukiyo-e genre of Japanese wood block printing made from the late 17th century through the 19th century including such (now stereotypic) subjects as landscapes, buildings, actors, geishas and so on (literally, "pictures of the floating world")
washi Japanese (wa) paper (shi)
yoko-e print in which the paper is oriented with the longest dimension in the horizontal direction (i.e., landscape)
zokin-zuri rag printing in which the inked block is wiped with a cloth