UKIYO-E images from the floating world were the most popular art-form of 19th century Japan. Like modern-day manga, these prints could be mass-produced and were admired by people from all sectors of society; and as in manga, the art of ukiyo-e included significant sub-genres dealing in violence. erotica and horror. With unflinching images of weird sex, bloody carnage and grotesque, demonic ghosts, DREAM SPECTRES is a powerful collection of the extremes of ukiyo-e, featuring the work of such artists as Yoshitoshi, Ekin, Kunichika, Yoshiiku, Kunisada, Hokusai, Kuniyoshi, Yoshitsuya, Hiroshige, and Chikanobu. DREAM SPECTRES features over 250 amazing full-colour images, including the complete Eimei Nijuhasshuku ( 28 Blood Atrocities ) of Yoshitoshi and Yoshiiku, and ranging in content from bondage and bestiality to decapitations, demons, dragons and designs for classic irezumi (body tattoos). This is Japanese art not only at its extremes of imagination, but often at its most highly accomplished and innovative. No comparable collection has previously been published in the English language. With text by Jack Hunter, author of the acclaimed and influential Eros In Hell. Here are the original images of female ghosts which inspired huge movie hits like The Ring and The Grudge; here are the gruesome samurai pictures, the demons, the panoramas of Hell, the mythical beasts and dragons, the blood-soaked scenes from kabuki theatre; here are the most explicit and exaggerated pornographic images of shunga; here are the legendary atrocity prints of Yoshitoshi; here are the amazing tattoo designs which were taken up by Japan's yakuza and now serve as inspiration for tattoo designers worldwide. And here is a compendium of some of the most innovative and dazzling works in the history of art.
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Jack Hunter is the acclaimed author and editor of over 20 books on the history of cult cinema, freakshows, and other cultural diversions. His innovative book on Japanese cult cinema EROS IN HELL became a bible for the new generation of US DVD producers who are still steadily releasing the films detailed in its pages. Other books include: MOONCHILD, FREAK BABYLON, and SEARCH & DESTROY. He lives in Tokyo in a constant state of cultural research.Review:
It's a little early for year end lists but I declare that with "Dream Spectres" Shinbaku has released one of the best art books of 2010. This incredible collection of images smashes open the floodgates of extreme ukiyo e for Western audiences, presenting more than 250 colour reproductions, most of which would be impossible to find otherwise. The book even reproduces the Eimei Nijuhasshuku ( 28 Scenes of Murder and Verse"), the most infamous series of Japanese muzan e (atrocity prints"), in its entirety. Hunter's achievement here is in presenting overwhelming evidence that the breadth and depth of Japanese mass produced genre painting rivals anything going on in film or literature today. Even if you're already a fan of bloody ukiyo e, there are works here that will have you collecting your eyeballs off the table. --Rue Morgue, March 2010
This mind-roasting volume is without question one of the standout books of 2010. The book, as its subtitle makes clear, deals with the darker regions of the ukiyo-e movement, specifically the gory, perverse and horrific aspects. The grossness and outrage of the pornographic illustrations on display here, nearly all featuring absurdly oversized genital organs, are undeniably striking (to say the least!). So too the spirited bloodletting of Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, who specialized in insanely gory scenes of reality-based carnage (including a man ripping another s face from his skull), and the near-psychedelic palettes of Kuniteru Utagawa and Shuntei Katsukawa, who pictured brave warriors battling dragons and giant sea turtles. There s far more to this book, of course, which can only be classified as a crowning achievement. DREAM SPECTRES is the first-ever English language book on extreme ukiyo-e, and may well end up the definitive one. --fright.com
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