Ohara Koson (Shoson). 1877-1945.
Wading Egret with Reeds. Shikishiban: 9 3/8 x 9 13/16 (sheet 10 3/4 x 11 1/4). Signed and sealed Koson. Original publisher: Daikoku-ya (Tokyo publisher, 1818-1923). Stamped 'number 25' and 'Printed in Japan' verso. "Made in Japan. No 25" stamp on the verso. Illustrated: Crows, Cranes & Camellias, K 14.15, p. 177, and page 82. The print in Newland is unsealed. This image is sealed, so is presumably an earlier printing. This print is also different in color, as the blue is more of a robin-s egg blue than grey. According to Newland et al, p. 82, "The soft feathers of the bird are beautifully suggested by white and grey printing, overprinted by white. Gauffrage in the birds' feathers and ripples in the water. Excellent color and condition. $850.
Kawaguchi and Sakai were a team of Tokyo publishers known for producing high quality woodblock prints. They began working together in the 1920's (apparently around 1929) and collaborated with several noteworthy artists, including Kawase Hasui and Ohara Koson. They published prints in limited editions of 100, numbered on the back side." The impression above is numbered 16. It is also stamped 'Made in Japan'.
Soon after World War I the U.S. began to require country-of-origin markings on imported goods, culminating in 1930 with the famous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Hence the beginnings of "Made in Japan", including woodblock prints. Prints not designated for export did not require this marking. There exist valid early editions marked "Made in Japan" with either an ink stamp or a pasted-on paper tag (which can come off, perhaps explaining the high proportion of extant prewar prints lacking any apparent marking).
More interesting to some is the period late 1945 to almost 1954, when the U.S. required "Made in Occupied Japan" markings. Equivalent wording was allowed in some cases, such as for space limitations, and it seems this loophole was stretched to include simply "Made in Japan", and sometimes even just "Japan". Japanese woodblock prints can be stamped all three, plus "Printed in Japan" and "printed by S. Watanabe Tokyo".
In summary, a print marked "Made in Japan" was designated for export to the U.S.
Ukiyoe: Twentieth Century.
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