It is to Moronobu that Japan owes the popularization of artistic wood-engravings, for nothing before his series of xylographic albums approached his best work in strength and beauty, and nothing since has surpassed it.
The principal Japanese supporter of this school was TaigadO (1722-1775), but the volume of copies of his sketches, TafgadO sansui juseki, published about 1870, is one of the least attractive albums ever printed in Japan.
The Kokka, a monthly magazine richly and beautifully illustrated and edited by Japanese students, has reached its 223rd number; the Shimbi Daikan, a colossal album containing chromoxylographic facsimiles of celebrated examples in every branch of art, has been completed in 20 volumes; the masterpieces of KOrin and Motonobu have been reproduced in similar albums; the masterpieces of the Ukiyo-e are in process of publication, and it seems certain that the Japanese nation will ultimately be educated to such a knowledge of its own art as will make for permanent appreciation.
In their adaptation of modern processes of illustration the Japanese are entirely abreast of Western nations, the chrornolithographs and other reproductions in the Kokka, a periodical record of Japanese works of art (begun in 1889), in the superb albums of the Shimbi S/join, and in the publications of Ogawa being of quite a high order of merit.
The chief industries of the place are the making of cigars, malt and machinery; also of albums, portfolios and other articles in leather.