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Japanese Print Formats and Sizes


Sources: Hanga Gallery website http://www.hanga.com/sizes.cfm; the website of J. Noel Chiappa http://mercury.lcs.mit.edu/~jnc/prints/glossary.html and others.

Japanese woodblock prints have traditionally been made in the following sizes and formats. These sizes are based on the typical dimensions of handmade Japanese paper, so as not to waste any paper. The most common print size is the oban format, which uses half of a large hosho sheet (O-bosho), which measures approximately 21 x 15.5 in. (53 x 39.4 cm). However, Japanese papermakers use slightly different recipes and molds and there is no exact standard for the size of a large hosho sheet. Therefore, the dimensions given below are average print sizes.

The words tate-e and yoko-e often appear after the print size in a catalog description (as in oban tate-e or chuban yoko-e). They refer to the alignment of the print; tate-e is a vertically aligned (portrait) print, while yoko-e is a horizontal (landscape) print. 

 Print SizeSize, Approx. (in.)
Size, Approx. (cm)    
 Notes
 oban  10" x 15" 25 x 38 cm the most common print size; 1/2 of large hosho sheet
 dai oban 12" x 16.5" 30.5 x 42 cm also called 'large oban' (o-oban)
 double oban 15" x 20" 38 x 51 cm entire large hosho sheet
 aiban 9" x 13"  34.2 x 22.5 cm in between oban and chuban sizes, 1/2 of small hosho sheet
 chuban 7" x 10" 19 x 25 cm  a common small print size; 1/2 of oban size, 1/4 of large hosho sheet
 koban 5" x 9" 13 x 23 cm 1/2 of aiban size
 yatsugiri 3.75" x 5" 9.5 x 12.7 cm postcard size, 1/2 of koban size
 yotsugiri 7" x 5"
 19 x 13 cm
 half a chuban
 tanzaku 17" x 5" 43 x 12.7 cm narrow vertical format used for paintings, pillar prints, and calligraphy
 chutanzaku 15" x 5" 38 x 13 cm narrow format, similar to hosoban size
 nagaban 22" x 10" 56 x 25 cm 
 hosoban 13" x 6" 33 x 15 cm 
 shikishiban 9" x 10" 23 x 26 cm also called kukuban, square format sometimes used for fan prints and often for surinomo
 hashira-e 29" x 5" 68-73 x 12-16 cm narrow vertical format used for paintings, pillar prints, and calligraphy; size varied depending on time period
 kakemono-e 30" x 9" 76 x 23 cm narrow vertical format used for paintings, pillar prints, and calligraphy


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