Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gyotaku, Art of Japanese Fish Printing

Gyotaku is the ancient art of Japanese fish printing. Japanese fisherman would make prints of their fish as a record of their prized fishing catches for the day. Gyo means "fish" and taku is "rubbing." The fish is inked and traditionally was printed on thin washi paper. Besides being a letterpress printer, I also am a paper maker and have tried my hand at making gyotaku prints on my handmade paper, but my initial results were not very promising. Today, there are many gyotaku artists who reveal the awesome beauty of fish and other sealife through their work. The photos above are gyotaku prints from Etsy shop owners: GyotakubyNaoki ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/GyotakubyNaoki) and Odessa Kelley (http://www.etsy.com/shop/odessakelley), and fishfanatic (http://www.etsy.com/shop/fishfanatic).


  1. Recently I've seen several posts on printmaking blogs about fish printing. I wonder how it came about, the first fish printers?

  2. It's my understanding that the Japanese fishermen were the first to make rough prints of their great fish catches.