Aizuri-e (Japanese: 藍摺り絵) literally means “blue printed picture”. The term usually refers to Japanese woodblock prints that are printed entirely or predominantly in blue. When a second color is used, it is usually red. Even if only a single type of blue ink was used, variations in lightness and darkness (value) could be achieved by superimposing multiple printings of parts of the design or by the application of a gradation of ink to the wooden printing block (bokashi).

The theory that aizuri-e production was prompted by the 1842 sumptuary laws known as the Tenpō reforms is no longer widely accepted.


  • Newland, Amy Reigle, The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints, Amsterdam, Hotei Publishing, 2005, Vol. 2, 418.



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