Japanese Woodblock Prints and Brush Paintings Collection MSS.2010.07.01

Silke Higgins
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
© 2010
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0028

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Title: Japanese Woodblock Prints and Brush Paintings Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2010.07.01
Physical Description: 1 flat file drawers (20 folders) 1 flat file drawers with 20 oversized folders. 50 artworks total: 47 prints and 3 brush paintings.
Date (inclusive): 1700-1958
Abstract: This collection consists of forty-seven woodblock prints by Japanese artists from the early 1700s to the mid 1900s, and three brush paintings by artist Shuho Kawashima in 1958.

Publication Rights

Copyright is not assigned to the San José State University Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives. Copyright restrictions may apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Preferred Citation

Japanese Woodblock Prints and Brush Paintings Collection, MSS-2010-07-01, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Silke Higgins. Finding aid EAD encoded by Silke Higgins. Reviewed by Danelle Moon. Folders relabeled and alphabetized in Spring 2019 by Samira Habibi. Accruals processed, finding aid revised and folders renumbered in January 2020 by Monica Keane.

Related Material

Esther Shephard Papers, MSS-2009-11-01, San José State University Special Collections & Archives.
Humanities Art Collection, MSS-2019-07-08, San José State University Special Collections & Archives.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Japanese Woodblock Prints and Brush Paintings Collection consists of forty-seven woodblock prints by Japanese artists from the early 1700s to the mid 1900s in the ukiyo-e tradition. Prints in this collection include the works of masters of ukiyo-e, such as Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Toyokuni Utagawa (1769-1825), and Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1797-1861). Subjects of these prints include beautiful women, kabuki actors, landscapes, plants and animals, and scenes of everyday life.
Included in this collection are three brush paintings created by artist Shuho Kawashima, a student at San Jose State College in 1958. Kawashima painted the three works while a student in Dr. Esther Shephard's Oriental Literature (English 119) class.


This collection is arranged into two series: Series I. Woodblock Prints; and Series II. Brush Paintings.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Art, Japanese
Color prints, Japanese
San José State University. Library. Special Collections & Archives


Series I. Woodblock Prints 1700-1942

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series is comprised of forty-seven woodblock prints on silk and rice cloth. Of special interest in this series is Hiroshi Yoshida's print Criptomeria Avenue. Yoshida was one of the last artists to work in the traditional shop fashion. Coming from a family of printmakers he initially began his career as a painter, studying in the Japanese city of Kyoto, as well as in Europe. Yoshida is known to have made at least one visit to the United States where he exhibited at the 1915 World Fair in San Francisco, California. The print in this collection is known to be one of the few copies created by Yoshida himself.


The prints in this series are arranged alphabetically by the family name of the artist.
drawer 01-20, Folder 1

Asada Benji 1899-1984


The Pagoda of Ninnaji Temple

drawer 01-20, Folder 6

Chobunsai Eishi


Geisha Girls

drawer 01-20, Folder 7



Geese and Leaves

drawer 01-20, folder 8

Katsushika Hokusai



Physical Description: Envelope containing set of 5 small landscape prints. Includes conservator's note from 1982 about treatments which also references lost slides.

House Scene


Men (Diptich)

Physical Description: 2 prints mounted together on a paper frame.

The Great Wave

drawer 01-20, Folder 2

Kawanabe Kyosui (Gyosui) 1868-1935


Three Ladies Admiring the Maple Tree in the Garden 1890

drawer 01-20, folder 19

Kitagawa Utamaro -1806


Anxious in Love


Beauties Enjoying the Cool Breeze on a Bridge

drawer 01-20, folder 9

Kuniyoshi Yasuo 1893-1953


The Little Pond 1942

drawer 01-20, folder 10

Ogata Korin




Three Cranes


Three Turtles

drawer 01-20, Folder 3

Shunkosai Hokushu active 1809–1832


Seated Woman with Fan 1830

drawer 01-20, Folder 4

Tomioka Eisen 1864-1905


Sailboats by Sunset

drawer 01-20, Folder 20

Torii Kiyonaga 1742-1815


Man With a Tea Housemate


Nihonbashi at New Years


Theatrical Group


Women Going to the City

drawer 01-20, folder 11

Unknown Artists


Flower Cluster


Hillside Villa


Japanese Lady with Blossoms


Japanese Plants


Sacred Mountain and Treasure Stone Shrine Landscape


Leafy Plant


Mounted and Un-mounted Samurai Battling


Crossing a Bridge during a Festival in November


Rock and Flowering Branch


Mikoshi being Carried during a Festival in June


Two Japanese Men

drawer 01-20, folder 12

Urushibara Yoshijiro




Lobster and Clams

drawer 01-20, Folder 5

Utagawa (Ando) Hiroshige 1797-1858


Row of Trees

drawer 01-20, folder 13

Utagawa Kuniyoshi 1798-1861



drawer 01-20, Folder 14

Utagawa Toyokuni 1769-1825


Geisha Girl


Rich Man's Servant

drawer 01-20, Folder 15

Watanbe Shotei



drawer 01-20, Folder 16

Yamakawa Shuho 1898-1944


Modern Matsume

drawer 01-20, Folder 17

Yoshida Hiroshi 1876-1950


Criptomeria Avenue


Evening at Hot Springs


On the Lake (Ike-No-Hata)


Series II. Brush Paintings 1958

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series is comprised of three paintings created by artist Shuho Kawashima as a demonstration of the technique of Japanese brush painting in Dr. Esther Shephard's SJSU class in Oriental Literature (English 119) on May 15, 1958.
The paintings are described by the artist as being depictions of "Pine, Bamboo, and Plum Blossom, the 'Three That Do Not Fear The Winter.'" "They are especially honored by the Chinese and the Japanese, the first two because they remain green through the season of 'Great Cold,' the last because it lives to a gnarled old age and each year puts out its blossoms very early in the spring."


The paintings in this series are in one folder.
drawer 01-20, folder 18

Kawashima Shuho May 5,1958

Physical Description: 3 brush paintings.