Japanese prints come in different sizes following certain standards. However these formats are not comparable to Western ISO, ANSI or DIN standards and are only approximate. The actual sizes can vary slightly by up to one inch (oban) or more (larger formats).
The most common print sizes that you will find for Japanese prints are Oban, Chuban and Aiban. The names for Japanese print sizes are often followed by the word tate-e or yoko-e. Tate-e stands for a print in portrait format and yoko-e for a print in landscape format. The knowledge of print sizes - even if only approximate - is sometimes quite helpful. Many ukiyo-e art dealers refer to their print sizes using these names instead of mentioning the precise measures. And it can be helpful if you are not sure if a print was trimmed.
Publishing a table about Japanese print sizes is a frustrating matter. Four different sources will result in four different sets of measures. We decided to follow basically the sizes as published in Sandra Andacht's book Japanese Woodblock Prints - see below.
|Format||Size in inches||Size in cm|
|Aiban||9 x 13||22.5 x 34.5|
|Chuban||7.5 x 10||19 x 25.5|
|Chu-tanzaku||5.1 x 15||13 x 38|
|Dai Oban||13.75 x 18.25||34.5 x 45.5|
|Ebankiri||7.5 x 20.25||19 x 51.5|
|Hashire-e||4.5 x 28||13 x 73|
|Hosoban||5 x 13||14.5 x 33|
|Kakemono-e||9 x 30||23 x 76|
|Kakuban||7 x 8||17.8 x 20.3|
|Kaku-Surimono||7 x 8.5||18 x 21.5|
|Koban||6.75 x 9||17 x 23|
|Ko-tanzaku||3 x 13.5||7.6 x 34.5|
|Naga-ban||9 x 20.25||23 x 51.5|
|Oban||10 x 15||25.4 x 38|
|Ogata-chuban||8.5 x 11.5||21.7 x 29.3|
|O-hosoban||6.75 x 15||17 x 38|
|Tanzaku||5 x 17||12.7 x 43|
|Shikishiban||8 x 9||20.5 x 23|
|Sho-tanzaku||3.75 x 10||9.5 x 25.5|
|Uchiwa||9 x 10||22.9 x 25.4|
|Yatsugiri-ban||3,75 x 5||9.5 x 12.7|
Sandra Andacht, "Japanese Woodblock Prints - Collector's Value Guide", krause publications, Iola, ISBN 1-58221-005-5.
Author: Dieter Wanczura