The Kuniyoshi Project is a website dedicated to the prints of early modern ukiyo-artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川 国芳). Although the website maintains a simple design, there must be hundreds of fantastic prints available to view, along with descriptions of their content and some times the process of production. For those of you who may want to track down the pieces on museum websites and learn more, both English translations of the titles and the Japanese are included. The prints are divided up by categories, but one that caught my eye and I’ll direct you to here is the fan prints of humorous and miscellaneous subjects. Why?
CATS! That’s why.
Here’s a parody scene of the Yoshiwara district, complete with cat courtesans:
Much like our modern day need to relentlessly take cat photos and make memes, Japanese artists were right there with us hundreds of years ago. Here’s a bunch of mock-portraits, with famous kabuki actors as pudgy cats:
Check out these and more at the Kuniyoshi Project’s page! Happy Friday! 🙂