• Press Releases : 2017
  • Industry's First! TOPPAN FORMS Launches Commercial Handscroll-style Version of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road Woodblock Prints and Old Map Aimed at Inbound Tourists

Press Releases

Industry's First! TOPPAN FORMS Launches Commercial Handscroll-style Version of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road Woodblock Prints and Old Map Aimed at Inbound Tourists

September 7, 2017


Kochizu Library Co., Ltd.

TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD. (TOPPAN FORMS hereunder) and Kochizu Library Co., Ltd. (Minato-ku, Tokyo; Kochizu Library hereunder) are to sell a handscroll-style version of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road; a famous set of ukiyo-e woodblock prints produced by Utagawa Hiroshige, one of the definitive ukiyo-e artists of the Edo period. Until now, ukiyo-e reproductions were typically viewed either framed as single prints, or in books. By incorporating a style that allows consumers to enjoy famous ukiyo-e and kochizu (old maps) together in handscroll form—a first for the printing and publishing industry (according to research conducted by TOPPAN FORMS and Kochizu Library)—the two firms aim to spread the appeal and attraction of traditional handscrolls to the world.
The scrolls come complete with an illustration that explains the original way of handling and viewing them; by “scrolling” through them with both hands. By having people familiarize themselves with handscrolls, the aim is to spread interest in the culture of emaki picture scrolls, which could also be said to be the original roots of animation. Furthermore, by combining the 55 individual ukiyo-e with the Tokai-Kiso Ryodochu Kaihozukan, an old map of the Tokaido Road, the scrolls offer the added enjoyment of enabling buyers to imagine the actual places that Hiroshige was depicting in his ukiyo-e as they view and appreciate them. It is hoped that taking this handscroll version of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road—a truly authentic slice of Japanese history and culture—in their hands and unravelling various aspects of historic Japan with their five senses (through activities and experiences such as travel, wandering walks, food, accomodation and events) will help people to think more about the future.
In this fiscal year, TOPPAN FORMS has begun working on culturally-oriented business projects, and is advancing the development of products that make full use of digital technologies in order to enable more people to enjoy, appreciate and familiarize themselves with Japanese culture. The company has previously produced high-quality reproductions of important cultural artefacts—such as the four great emaki scroll paintings of Japanese treasure—using jointless, continuous-sheet printing technologies. On this occasion, based on know-how developed through such activities, TOPPAN FORMS has used its digital printers to achieve high-precision printing.
Moving forward, TOPPAN FORMS will continue to deepen the level of its cooperative partnership with Kochizu Library to create a series of emaki picture scrolls depicting other famous landscapes, with the aim of tapping into inbound demand (towards the government target of attracting 40 million inbound foreign tourists to Japan annualy by 2020); with its own target of selling a cumulative total of 5,000 handscroll sets by 2020.

53 Stations of the Tōkaidō Road

Product Concept and Features

  • - Contributes to spreading interest in Japan’s world-famous ukiyo-e woodblock prints; and the culture of emaki picture scrolls, which developed in a unique way in Japan.
  • - Combines the ukiyo-e with an old map of the Tokaido Road, expressing the series of prints as a continuous journey in handscroll form.
  • - Delivers the enjoyment of touching, holding and viewing picture scrolls, to a target audience consisting primarily of foreign tourists and fans of Edo-period culture.
  • - Displays the places and presumed lines of sight that Hiroshige is thought to have been at when he drew his ukiyo-e, on an old map of the region.
  • - Includes QR-code-based multilingual guide functionality (7 languages, 6 post stations, until June 31, 2018).

Specifications & Pricing

  • - 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road: Complete Version (From Nihonbashi to Kyoto) containing two scrolls.
    Total length: 11.1m
    Standard price: ¥30,000 (excluding tax)
    A luxury emaki handscroll set, ideal as a gift for ukiyo-e lovers and companies both in Japan and abroad.
  • - 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road: Tokyo & Kanagawa Version (From Nihonbashi to Hakone)
    Total length: 2.6m
    Standard price: ¥9,800 (excluding tax)
    A shorter-length handscroll, ideal even for beginners to familizarize themselves casually with emaki scrolls; designed with sale in the Kanto area in mind.
    (Sales of continuation scrolls following on from this one are also planned.)

Methods of Sale

The scrolls will be available for purchase at the Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi store (for a limited period only), the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Printing Museum, Tokyo. It is also planned to sell them to business customers, and by reservation at certain bookstores.
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