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Watch the NHK program here!

Posted by Dave Bull at 7:14 AM, October 11, 2010 [Permalink]

For the benefit of those who didn't get a chance to watch the recent NHK program on my work in the Japanophiles series, I'm putting a version of it here on the RoundTable.

Please use the comments below to let me know what you think about it!


Following comment posted by: Anita Cage on October 11, 2010 3:08 AM

It's marvelous. I'm very impressed. You manage to get so much information and so much of your wonderful story compressed into a very brief time. You look good and sound good and the script and pace and scenes are so inviting and delightful. It's a wonderful job and I hope it has a very wide viewing.

I think it is quite the best kind of marketing tool for your work, at least in this country. I'm very excited about this clip and its potential for you. (I loved the closing segment about the fine knife you were given and which you hope to be able to use someday. What a lovely sensibility that seems to me and you communicated it so gracefully. Perhaps you are more nearly ready than you think.)

I've already sent the link to close friends and am constructing a list of others who will appreciate it. I think it is just what people need to see to be motivated to find out about your work.

I can't thank you enough for posting the link. I shall watch it myself several more times. Truly it is splendid and exceedingly well done. Congratulations!

Following comment posted by: Marc Kahn on October 11, 2010 5:16 AM

Very nicely done!

Following comment posted by: Scott Sakamoto on October 11, 2010 3:47 PM

Hello David,

I live in Los Angeles and just saw the broadcast of the episode which featured you and your work. Just wanted to say that your work is really grand and an inspiration. I just found your site and will spend some time looking through what you have posted. If I was able to purchase any of your pieces, would you be able to ship to the U.S.?

Thank you for sharing your dedication with me.

Following comment posted by: Dave on October 11, 2010 4:01 PM

It looks like this page might be the place to collect 'feedback' on the program, so I'll paste in here a few of the comments that I received today since the broadcast ...


I just finished watching the broadcast here in Seattle - it's about 10:40 pm Pacific - and found it extremely interesting. I've been so pleased with the print set I purchased from you, and your skill is obvious in the work I have. Now, I've had a chance to see the enthusiasm you bring to it, and it makes having the prints an even greater pleasure. I particularly enjoyed meeting your first patrons, the bakers!


I have just been amazed and inspired by a documentary about your work that I saw on NHK.


I've just watched that documentary on N.H.K about you and your woodblock printing and carving. Great!! You come across as a very talented man, obviously, but at the same time very humble and modest in your attitude. I really enjoyed watching it and enjoyed your explanations on the various aspects of the work. Congratulations on your success and all the best for the future.


I just watched the NHK program. I am surprised to find myself feeling really inspired. You did a wonderful job expressing what it's all about. All I can say is, thank you. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for perpetuating the magic of mokuhanga.


A great show on NHK! Congratulations on the show, and I sincerely hope that it generates a ton of new subscribers...we all want you to work hard(er) so that you can use those special tools!


Wow! The program is so good! It is so full. I learned a lot about woodblock printmaking. I like to hear your talk because your talk lets us know you really love woodblock prints.


I have always been an (rather novice) admirer of woodblock prints. But my appreciation for the art form grew meaningfully upon watching your interview and your description of the process and techniques involved.


I have to say, the programme section was barely over when I dashed upstairs to my computer. Your work is beautiful and We absolutely will become regular customers!


Your craftsmanship and desire to perpetuate the talents preceding you, I find noble. And I love your bakery shop patrons. Down to earth and refreshing!


I thought everything went together well - with good interaction between you and Peter (Barakan) throughout the show. I was glad you were allowed to go into greater detail about your original inspiration for making prints; your struggles and triumphs throughout the years; and your vision for the future. I really enjoyed the time spent in the bakery (which we hear so much about) to finally meet those wonderful friends of yours. Very fun people!


Thanks everybody!

Following comment posted by: Daniel Dew on October 11, 2010 11:30 PM

Very informative. I liked your explanation of the importance of "light", very true but very rarely thought about.

Following comment posted by: Ray Hudson on October 11, 2010 11:45 PM

David, The program was extraordinarily moving. You managed to cover a huge amount of material and yet to imbue the presentation with an intimate spirit.

Following comment posted by: Annie B on October 12, 2010 12:52 AM

Your enthusiasm, your deep respect for the practitioners of Japanese woodblock through the centuries, your love of the tools and the paper, your quest for "the light" -- all of this came shining through so beautifully in this program. Congratulations! I hope that the program introduces many more people to your work. And I hope you won't mind if I link to this post from my blog. Thanks for posting it here.

Following comment posted by: louise cass on October 12, 2010 1:48 AM

Congratulations! Your love of the medium really shines through this program - very nice to be left with the image of the delicate knife you were bequeathed. Just one thought re the interview -I'm wondering why they didn't talk about the number of blocks needed to produce one of the prints?

Following comment posted by: Jay Ruth on October 12, 2010 7:04 AM

What an absolutely wonderful insight into your life and work. I can honestly say that after watching this I believe that whatever art or craft field one works in, this programme is an inspiration. I also believe that to a community of hanga printmakers you continue to be that fount of inspiration, and while we all vary and adapt the system as we desire, we can also turn to you and learn the 'right' way to do things, should we wish...thank you.

Following comment posted by: Charlie on October 12, 2010 7:32 AM

Dave - NHK did a TERRIFIC job . . . I watched it on the internet twice yesterday. The only way it could have been better is if it was an hour longer. Or two. I know you could have shown much more work, spoken at length on the history of Japanese woodcut art and technique, and entertained and enlightened us even more than you did. Bravo. Twice.

Please don't hang up the ol' knives when NHK comes calling to offer you a job in broadcasting.

Following comment posted by: Mark Mason on October 12, 2010 8:42 AM

Hi Dave,
Just a quick post to let you know that I thought the Japanophiles programme worked really well. I'm sure that they could make another show with all the stuff that landed on the editing room floor. You did manage to capture the moment of revelation, through Peter, of viewing the prints in the correct light during the studio room set sequence, a moment of real enlightenment for the presenter, and the clip you really need to capitalise on in other pages on your site, and on YouTube, Vimeo etc.
Your comments about art for ordinary people really struck a chord, especially in light of our recent conversations.
Congratulations on a great show.
Mark. UK.

Following comment posted by: Mark Mason on October 12, 2010 8:44 AM

PS: I wish they'd come to me for the title sequence though, I'd have done a much better job!

[Dave's edit: Here is what Mark means ...]

Following comment posted by: Jan Kellett on October 12, 2010 8:45 AM

What a tremendous leap of faith for you and your family to move to Japan in the first place, with no security of employment, in the hope that you could learn and practice woodblock printing. It's a great story and to echo others, very inspirational. Thank you.

Following comment posted by: Mike Luce on October 12, 2010 1:16 PM

I really enjoyed this show. It was great seeing people such as your first subscribers in motion and speaking so highly of you. Also, it was great seeing the host's moment of clarity in realizing that there was a great deal more to the images he held than he first thought. The portion at the end with the story of the knife was truly wonderful, probably my favorite part.

This show reminds me of an out of print National Geographic special called, "The Living Treasures of Japan." It was filmed in the 80s and showcases people like yourself that have dedicated their lives to one simple artistic focus. If you have not seen it and it is somehow available, I highly recommend it.

Thank you for showing this and for sharing all your work.

Following comment posted by: Constance Brewer on October 12, 2010 1:29 PM

Very inspiring! And interesting, I learned a lot. Thanks for posting the link.

Following comment posted by: celtspenaflor on October 12, 2010 7:38 PM

Hi, David!

I was able to watch this yesterday. Thank you so much! You are truly an inspiration. I am currently a freelance fine art photographer and though I have studied a bit of photography when I was in the university, it has been just a few years back that I have gotten into this hobby seriously and I have been able to sell my prints from time to time. It's not that often that I get to sell my prints, and everytime I get to sell it, the artist in me feels alive and it encourages me more to continue my craft. Learning more about you and your unceasing passion for your craft is something that I will hold on to as I continue my journey as an artist. Thank you so much! And all the best to you. I hope I'll be able to buy one some of your works someday. They are beyond words. :)

Following comment posted by: Bill Behrend on October 13, 2010 4:28 AM

Just wonderful! Keep the light shining as it does here, and we will never lack for beautiful moku hanga. Thanks one more time, David.


Following comment posted by: Lorna Brown on October 17, 2010 5:54 AM

I am a self taught miliner originally from Hawaii.The joy that exudes from you brought tears to my eyes. I have experienced knocking on the door of a known miliner in L.A. and humbling telling her that I knew there was a correct way to finish a cocktail hat and would she teach me how. She saw the creativity in my work and allowed me to sit in on her class. The only regret....not having your convictions and fortitude to pursue the desire to the fullest.

Your work is magnificent and yes, I agree each succeeding piece reflects the progression of one's life. Everytime you create something, a part of your soul becomes part of it. Thank you for your ability to express in words what many artists feel but can only express through their work.

Following comment posted by: Margaret on October 17, 2010 4:17 PM

I'm so glad you posted this to the RoundTable! I had to work last Sunday, and was sad I'd missed it.

Excellent show. I hope it brings you many new subscribers!

Following comment posted by: Dave on October 17, 2010 5:02 PM

brings you many new subscribers ...

Well, a full week has passed, so perhaps it's time for an update on that.

Being on TV is not a new experience for me, as a perusal of the Woodblock Shimbun pages will show. The first few times I was featured (mostly on news programs back at the beginning) I was really expecting it to make a big difference in the 'business' aspect of my work - you know, orders!

It did no such thing.

And I mean 'no' such thing; I soon learned that TV exposure meant nothing in particular, beyond an increased profile in my community. People would mention now and then that they had seen a program, but it never resulted in orders. I guess people see so much stuff on TV that it just flows by ... and is gone.

So when NHK approached me about this program, I accepted - because it did sound like a fun thing to do - but I had no illusions that it would help add to the subscriber base.

I was wrong. This time has been different.

As I write, there are ten confirmed new subscribers, and a few more people expressing interest. What's the difference this time? Well, being broadcast globally just might have something to do with it!

But I think over and above that it is that the audience for this one was pre-selected. The only people watching this program were those who have an interest in Japan and Japanese culture - they were already half-way there. All NHK had to do was 'push them over' ...

Thanks very much to these new 'members' of the family, and I hope that you enjoy being part of this Mystique series! (And very much thanks to NHK and the program producers, who did a good job of organizing my sometimes chaotic program ideas ...)

Following comment posted by: Noel Rabouhans on October 17, 2010 9:58 PM

As one of your ten new subscribers, I think that I must have established some sort of new record. From watching the NHK programme last Sunday, in just six days I am now the delighted owner of the first six of my Mystique prints, together with their handsome storage/display box. This has pride of place in my office.

I must say that I was most impressed, not only by the prints themselves, but by the whole presentation, from the informative notes, to the meticulous way in which it was all packaged.

Many thanks, and I will look forward even more to completing the set.

You are right in saying that I was primed to respond to the programme. My son has married a Japanese girl, and two years ago my wife and I visited Japan for the first time to attend their wedding. I already had a nascent interest in Japanese art, but did not have the opportunity at that time to seek out some authentic items.

Thanks again, and keep up this unique work!

Following comment posted by: Dave on October 17, 2010 10:19 PM

Wow, that was fast! I certainly wouldn't have ever promised that you would have the package that quickly - from here to England (and through Customs!) in just a couple of days.

And glad to hear that you like them!

Following comment posted by: Bob Seal on October 22, 2010 7:52 AM

Thank you for showing the program, David.

Your love of the craft and ability to share your knowledge is a great lesson to us all.

I am a humble oil based print maker who uses a wooden spoon to print and watercolour to colour my prints. I respect your dedication and skill to your craft.

Following comment posted by: Ken Morgan on November 4, 2010 9:49 AM

I was not able to watch the original broadcast but had time today to enjoy your efforts.
Your desire to move forward was very apparent when I first found your site and started to read all that you had posted. I have been collecting prints for many years- one here, one there. Over time my walls have shrunk so that I must now focus on smaller items(if you remember where is my print). You have provided a new way to enjoy this aged craft.
I am always explaining how these come about and find many people who question all that is required to produce a finished product. Even some of my Bonsai friends back away(they forget all the years in our trees).
Please continue on, I will for ever be a customer for your works.
Ken Morgan

Following comment posted by: Peter Belsito on November 15, 2010 12:16 AM

Bravo David. I hope you can use that knife someday soon. -- PB

Following comment posted by: Elliot Cohen on February 5, 2011 11:31 PM

This is my favourite kind of story.
When my wife noticed I had watched this particular documentary for about the fourth/fifth time she very kindly ordered me 'The Mystique of the Japanese Print'. They're just fantastic!

Following comment posted by: Phillip Bivins on February 8, 2011 2:58 AM

I just finished watching this wonderful program. I will try to keep my comments short, to do otherwise would not be beneficial. I must say it was the "Perfect" show about David and his personal journey. The show left me wanting to see more. Hopefully at some point there will be more. I wish the very best for David. God bless!

Phil Bivins
Southern Pines, North Carolina USA

Following comment posted by: Tara on February 21, 2011 2:15 AM

Wow, what a wonderful way to learn about woodblock prints, and your passion and talent for creating such beautiful pieces of art. I previously had almost no knowledge of woodblock prints, other than a general interest in Japanese art and culture (my dad sent me the link to this page), but your programme has enabled me to begin to understand the skill involved and further appreciate a fascinating and stunningly beautiful art form.

Thank you for a really enjoyable and accessible programme. I will be sure to look out for your work in the future.

Manchester, UK.

Following comment posted by: Angelika Hung on December 2, 2011 6:15 PM

Hi David Bull,
I came across your website about 2 yrs ago and am abosolutely impressed by your work and the informative content/beauty of your website. Like you, I fell in love with Japanese woodblock prints when I was visiting Japan many years ago and happened to chance upon them in a bookshop selling postcards of famous woodblock print masters. After seeing your website, it confirmed my thesis topic for my master prog in Art History that I'm currently doing. I will be writing a thesis on Sosaku Hanga when my academic year begins again next Jan & thought I'll get in touch with you for exchange of some ideas since you are one of the best persons to do so, having lived in Japan for so long and working directly on those wonderful prints in the Japanese way. I hope you don't mind this exchange of ideas, despite your busy schedule. I believe I have much to learn from you. Can I start by asking 2 questions: When both Hokusai and Hiroshige were apprenticed at the Kawakita and Utagawa schools respectively, did they learn to carve prints as well or were they concentrating on just producing the sketch for the prints, like artists who provided the picture for the specialized carvers & printers? Also, how did the ukiyo-e artists esp Hokusai and Hiroshige influenced the Impressioninsts in their use of colors? Did the fact that the Impressionists like Monet's and Degas' use of complementary colors stem from the ukiyo-e? Thanks so much in advance for your reply.

Following comment posted by: Pavel Svec on August 7, 2012 7:40 PM

Hello David,

I am really impressed by your work and I wish you and your family all the best. I just start a web that tries to promote original print artists and painters and the documentary gave inspiration and energy to keep on going. You gave me some important hints how to look at the prints. Thank you for all.


Following comment posted by: Ed Baker on July 11, 2013 12:42 AM

just passed this film on to my friend, Don Wentworth, who does Issa's Untidy Hut and about three times a week does a post which includes a wooden block print...


my friend moved to Kyoto in the 1950's (Cid Corman) and frequently has sent me post cards with prints on them. I guess repros made in Osaka ?

many friend now or have lived/moved to Japan (and married Japanese women)...

all poets and what struck me about your work is the attitude / process.... same as with this craft of writing poems .... one stroke
at a time.... one word at a time....

you know Yanagi's : The Unknown Craftsman ?

cheers, Ed

Following comment posted by: Lam Tze Sheung on July 22, 2013 1:26 PM

I am learning how to do wood cut and Japanese method.How should I begin?

Following comment posted by: Dave on July 22, 2013 2:48 PM

How should I begin?

Read a bunch of books, study a Support Forum, join an internet printmakers' group, then make something!

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