MS Optics Ukio-e Special Edition Lenses

We often get some amazing things coming through JCH HQ, so it takes something really special to have our jaws on the floor. But these magnificent hand painted lenses stopped us in our tracks. Presenting the MS Optics Ukio-e Special Edition Lenses.

These are a very limited series of hand painted lenses depicting traditional Japanese artistic and cultural images. These stunning lenses are the result of a collaboration between MS-Optics’ Miyazaki and urushii lacquer artist Daisuke Matsunagi.

Aporia 24mm

In case you didn’t know, Miyazaki san is always trying out new things and sometimes he gets quite carried away with his vision. So imagine my surprise when he told me he was making a very limited series of lenses which have been inspired by Ukio-e style woodblock prints. For a base he used his most recent lens, the Aporia 24mm f2, which he recently released in Urushii blue as well.

Miyazaki san often tells me of his ideas and many of them are his daydreams, so when I opened the box to these I understood that one of his dreams had come true. There are 5 lenses in the series, with only 10 pieces of each being made. Each lens one painstakingly hand painted and will be completely unique from the others. The level of detail is mind blowing. These are more than just lenses, they are objets d’art.

The painter Daisuke Matsunage 松木 大輔 is recognized by the Japanese government as traditional master craftsman. His talent is clearly evident in the beautiful and highly detailed work on these lenses. They have a shine to the lacquer which makes them shimmer in the light.

All of the lenses are inspired by Japanese themes, apart from one which stands out….The Tutankhamun lens. Though I am not entirely sure, I am guessing the painter likes ancient Egypt. But it is still painted in the traditional (and time consuming) ukio-e lacquer.

The Great Wave lens

Perhaps one of the most famous Japanese pieces of artwork, this is ‘The great wave off Kanagawa’. The urushii lacquer has been brushed back to create a weathered and almost sandy feel to the lens.

The Mt. Fuji lens

One of the famed 36 views of Mt. Fuji by Hokusai, this is ‘Fine wind, clear morning’ which is one of my favourite pieces of Japanese art. This lens is simply incredible and I kind of want to keep it.

The Goldfish lens

Goldfish were featured prominently in Ukio-e prints during the edo period and was seen as not only a status symbol, but also thought to bring wealth, fortune and good luck.

The Kabuki lens

Kabuki theatre is another Japanese art form that has its roots in the Edo period. The actors wear elaborate and highly stylized costumes and makeup in plays that are now recognized by UNESCO as an intangible national asset. This lens details the actors costume in fine detail and the vivid red is as impactful as the Kabuki makeup.

King Tut

Influenced by a love of Egyptian antiquity or perhaps trying to push the boundaries of the craft, Matsunage san created a portrait of the boy king.  The golden shine on the coating of this lens is mesmerizing.

Each lens comes in its own wooden box with a printed cloth and the history of the artist printed as well. These lenses will be available soon, but we only have one of each, so you can register your interest by contacting us directly here. If you are a completely crazy person and you want to buy the complete set then let us know asap.