Mokuhanga is a non-toxic, colour relief print method developed in Japan. A full colour image is skilfully colour separated with each image colour carved into a separate woodblock. The image is then reconstructed in the printing process by a careful registration system known as kento until a full colour printed image is achieved.  

The term, Mokuhanga, is derived from two Japanese words: moku means 'wood' and hanga which means 'to cut.' The technique is non-toxic as only water, rice glue and water-based pigments are used when creating a print. Sustainable wood sources are used for the woodblocks and washi paper manufacturing. 

Traditionally, the various technical aspects of making a print were separated into two distinct skills: carving the woodblock and printing the image. Carvers became highly skilled at reproducing the look of a sumi brushstroke in their blocks while printers developed colour, embossing and other methods to animate their images in the hands of a viewer. 

The heyday of traditional Mokuhanga image making was during the Edo period (1603 to 1868) when ukiyo-e or 'floating world' images were most prolifically and skilfully produced in Japan. After that, the tradition declines with the introduction of Western machine print processes during the Meji period. Mokuhanga has enjoyed a recent revival as a contemporary print practice with the export of the technique to other countries as a result of educational programmes and art residencies. Today, contemporary Mokuhanga enjoys a variety of approaches and techniques.