Ukiyo-e prints to be used in new passports

Good morning everyone,

The nice weather is sticking around for a couple more days-today and tomorrow to be exact. Then it'll cloud over on Tuesday and we're looking at rain on Wednesday. Temperatures will also be a bit cooler the middle of the week, with highs to be around 24C or 25C...which is actually normal for this time of year.

The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that it will use Katsushika Hokusai’s series of landscape prints “Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji” for the new design of immigration stamp pages in the country’s passport.

Hokusai's (1760-1849) collection, known as “Fugaku Sanjurokkei” (36 views of Mount Fuji), will be depicted in the visa section with a different painting on each page, the Foreign Ministry said May 18.

The move was made partly to make it more difficult to forge Japanese passports, the ministry said.

The 10-year passport will include 24 paintings while the five-year passport will have 16 works.

It will be the first time that paintings have been included in passports since the documents were first given to Japanese citizens in 1866, according to the ministry.

Initially, paintings of animals, seasonal landscapes and anime characters were listed as candidates. However, ministry officials and experts eventually opted for the globally known "Fugaku Sanjurokkei," which is from the early 19th century. Are those wood prints 'globally known'? Hmmm...other than the 'Great Wave off Kanagawa', I think you'd be hard-pressed to find one that people outside of Japan recognize. But regardless of that, I love the choice. It's very 'Japanese'.

The designs of the covers of the passports will remain unchanged, the ministry added.

The ministry plans to introduce the new design in fiscal 2019, before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The design and features of the passport have been changed regularly to prevent forgery and falsification. The current version features patterns of cherry blossoms.

For the coming change, the ministry studied options under a “Japanese-type design” concept. It held a series of meetings with experts to decide the new design.

It is the first time in the postwar period for the passport design patterns to be changed substantially. I like them. I much prefer something traditional to anime characters (which they were considering) and it's cool that they're using a series of one artist's work as a motif throughout the passport. What do you think? What would you like to see on the visa pages?

Have a great day!

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