Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and UNIQLO Announce “Hokusai Remixed,” a New UT Collection Based on the Artist’s Iconic Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints

Re-imagined Designs Feature Unique Combinations of Classic Prints from the Museum’s Renowned Holdings of Japanese Art

Collaboration Continues 10-Year Partnership

BOSTON (December 21, 2023)— The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and global apparel retailer UNIQLO have launched a new collection of UT Graphic Tees, inspired by several Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) iconic ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Museum’s preeminent holdings of Japanese art. Ukiyo-e, which translates to “pictures of the floating world,” was a genre of paintings and prints popular in the 19th century, which drew their subject matter from Japanese landscapes and other everyday life scenes in Edo (modern-day Tokyo), Japan. This widely popular UNIQLO collection—developed in collaboration with the MFA—incorporates re-imagined designs based on 11 Hokusai prints.

This collection brings the distinctive elements of Hokusai’s works to everyday wear. The specially-developed graphic tees—offered in four styles—are part of UNIQLO’s UT (UNIQLO T-Shirt) line, which transforms T-shirts into canvases of art and self-expression through an array of authentic cultural content from around the world. The T-shirts are available online at UNIQLO.com and sold in UNIQLO stores globally, including its Newbury Street location in Boston. This collaboration builds upon a 10-year partnership between the Museum and UNIQLO—a longtime supporter of arts and culture—that was established in 2017.

“Our ongoing collaboration supports the MFA’s mission of bringing art and culture into everyday life and broadens access to the Museum’s renowned collection of Japanese art. UNIQLO combines style with masterpieces and brings art to life through wearable designs. We’re thrilled that more people can now experience and enjoy art through fashion,” said Debra LaKind, Senior Director of Intellectual Property and Business Development at the MFA.

“We’ve enjoyed building upon the partnership with the MFA with another exciting new UT collection, bringing the Museum’s Japanese art collection to life,” said Nick Grover, UNIQLO Director of Brand Partnerships. “The new line reflects our company’s Japanese origins and longstanding commitment to the arts, and we look forward to introducing it to both museum visitors and UNIQLO customers.”

UNIQLO worked with MFA curators to select the Hokusai works from Museum’s collection of more than 50,000 ukiyo-e prints—among the largest and finest in the world. Ukiyo-e prints were mass-produced commercial products; the artist was only responsible for drawing the design. Wooden blocks—one for each color, in the case of color prints—were carved by professional block cutters, and prints were made from the blocks by professional printers. Ukiyo-e thrived during the Edo Period (1603–1868), with subject matter including portraits of fashionable women and popular kabuki actors, and later, landscapes and historical scenes as well. Members of the public were enthralled by the colorful and highly detailed works, and successful designs sold thousands of impressions. Since so many examples were made, sometimes the printers tried out different color combinations for the same design, as seen in this collection.

Hokusai was known as the “Old Man Mad about Painting” and depicted nature from towering Mount Fuji to tiny flowers. The “remixed” designs in the new collection are based on 11 of his prints from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), about 1830-31, including:

  • Three editions of Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa-oki nami-ura), also known as the Great Wave;
     
  • Four editions of Fine Wind, Clear Weather (Gaifū kaisei), also known as Red Fuji;
     
  • Two editions of Rainstorm beneath the Summit (Sanka haku-u); and
     
  • Two editions of Fuji from Goten-yama, at Shinagawa on the Tōkaidō (Tōkaidō Shinagawa Goten-yama no Fuji).

UNIQLO and the MFA

UNIQLO became part of the Boston community in the fall of 2015 at historic Faneuil Hall. Five additional store openings followed, including a location at 341 Newbury Street. Since the launch of UNIQLO’s partnership with the MFA in the fall of 2017, educators from the Museum have hosted a range of art-making activities that are free and open to the public at the company’s stores throughout Massachusetts. UNIQLO additionally supports a variety of programs celebrating Japanese art and culture at the MFA, including the annual Boston Festival of Films from Japan.

About UNIQLO LifeWear

Apparel that comes from the Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. Designed to be of the time and for the time, LifeWear is made with such modern elegance that it becomes the building blocks of each individual’s style. A perfect shirt that is always being made more perfect. The simplest design hiding the most thoughtful and modern details. The best in fit and fabric made to be affordable and accessible to all. LifeWear is clothing that is constantly being innovated, bringing more warmth, more lightness, better design, and better comfort to people’s lives.

About UNIQLO and Fast Retailing

UNIQLO is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading Japanese retail holding company with global headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. UNIQLO is the largest of eight brands in the Fast Retailing Group, the others being GU, Theory, PLST, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse tam.tam, J Brand and Helmut Lang. With global sales of approximately 2.77 trillion yen for the 2023 fiscal year ending August 31, 2023 (US $18.92 billion, calculated in yen using the end of August 2023 rate of $1 = 146.2 yen), Fast Retailing is one of the world’s largest apparel retail companies, and UNIQLO is Japan’s leading specialty retailer.

UNIQLO continues to open large-scale stores in some of the world's most important cities and locations, as part of its ongoing efforts to solidify its status as a global brand. Today the company has a total of more than 2,400 UNIQLO stores across the world, including Japan, Asia, Europe and North America. The total number of stores across Fast Retailing's brands is now close to 3,600.

With a corporate statement committed to changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world, Fast Retailing is dedicated to creating great clothing with new and unique value to enrich the lives of people everywhere. For more information about UNIQLO and Fast Retailing, please visit www.uniqlo.com and www.fastretailing.com.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The MFA brings many worlds together through art. Showcasing masterpieces from ancient to modern, our renowned collection of nearly 500,000 works tells a multifaceted story of the human experience—a story that holds unique meaning for everyone. From Boston locals to international travelers, visitors from all over come to experience the MFA—where they reveal connections, explore differences and create a community where all belong.

Open six days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Monday, 10 am–5 pm; Wednesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Thursday–Friday, 10 am–10 pm. Plan your visit at mfa.org.

Contact

Lisa Colli
617-369-3447
lcolli@mfa.org