Converse Releasing All-Stars Inspired by Japan’s Ukiyo-e Masterpieces

    Footwear maker Converse is honoring Japan’s traditional Ukiyo-e art with a pair of special All-Star models.

    The first model is inspired by Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa, “which is arguably the most famous Ukiyo-e piece ever created. It features Hokusai’s masterpiece printed on the inner and outer sides of white All-Star hi-tops. 

    The second model has motifs from Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s “Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre. “Print of gashadokoro, giant skeleton commonly featured in Japanese folklore, is placed on the outer sides of black All-Star hi-tops.

    These unique All-Stars are currently available on the official Japanese website of Converse. They come at a price of around $80.

    Ukiyo-e, which featured extensive use of woodblock prints, was particularly popular in Japan from the 17th century through the 19th century. Artists creating Ukiyo-e art covered a wide range of subjects, including depictions of historical events, landscapes, folklore, and scenes from everyday life.

    Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” is part of the artist’s large series titled Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. It was created in 1831 and is often recognized as the greatest artwork in Japanese history. It is estimated that 8,000 copies were originally printed, but only 200 survived to date.

    Kuniyoshi created “Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre” between 1843 and 1847. It shows a scene from the Story of Utö Yasutaka, written by poet Santö Kyöden, in which Princess Takiyasha reads a scroll to summon Gashadokuro, hoping it will protect her from monsters.