MFA Boston and UNIQLO Launch T-Shirt Collection Inspired by Ukiyo-e Prints from Museum's Renowned Holdings of Japanese Art

Collaboration Continues the MFA’s 10-Year Partnership with UNIQLO

BOSTON (August 6, 2019)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and global apparel retailer UNIQLO announced today the launch of the Edo Ukiyo-e UT Graphic Tee Collection, inspired by 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 the cosmopolitan fashions and entertainments of Edo (modern-day Tokyo). The public avidly collected striking portraits of beloved kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers, mass-produced using innovative technology that allowed for single-sheet prints and sold at inexpensive prices. The new UNIQLO collection incorporates designs from works by five ukiyo-e masters, including the legendary Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series by Katsushika Hokusai. The specially developed graphic tees—offered in eight styles for women and 10 for men—are part of the retailer’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 Edo Ukiyo-e collection also includes two dress designs for women and girls, as well as six sweatshirt and four Aloha shirt designs for men. The items are currently available online at and will be sold in UNIQLO stores in the U.S. starting August 9, 2019. The T-shirts will also be available at the MFA Signature Shop, where Museum members will be able to purchase them using their regular 10-percent discount. 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.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with UNIQLO and expand access to our unrivaled collection of Japanese art in a fun and innovative way,” said Katie Getchell, Chief Brand Officer and Deputy Director. “The colorful world of ukiyo-e prints has provided a powerful way of sharing information about Japanese culture since the 19th century, and we’re delighted to be able to bring it into the 21st century through wearable art that is accessible to all.”

The MFA’s collection of more than 50,000 ukiyo-e prints is 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), when the repertoire of subject matter depicted in the prints expanded greatly. In addition to portraits of fashionable women and popular kabuki actors, landscapes and historical prints became major subgenres. Members of the public were enthralled by the colorful and highly detailed works, and successful designs sold thousands of impressions.

The Museum’s curators worked closely with UNIQLO to select designs from works by five artists:

  • Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), most famous for his iconic work Under the Wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave); he was known as the “Old Man Mad about Painting” and depicted nature from towering Mount Fuji to tiny flowers
  • Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858), who captured the natural beauty of the Japanese landscape; his works later influenced Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet
  • Utagawa Kunimasa (1773–1810), whose striking actor portraits capture the vibrant spirit of Edo’s popular culture
  • Utagawa Kunisada (1773–1810), the most prolific of all ukiyo-e artists, who specialized in portraits of actors and women wearing chic Edo fashions
  • Toshusai Sharaku (active 1794–1795), a master of facial features who drew kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers with lively expressions

“We are proud to continue our partnership with the MFA with this exciting new UT collection, bringing the Museum’s renowned holdings of Japanese art to life through the canvas of a T-shirt,” said Nick Grover, UNIQLO Director of Brand Partnerships. “The Ukiyo-e Collection reflects UNIQLO’s origins from Japan and our longstanding interest in the arts, and we look forward to introducing the collection to both museum-goers and UNIQLO customers alike.”

The Edo Ukiyo-e collection is UNIQLO’s second line of T-shirts developed in collaboration with the MFA, following the release of the Katagami UT collection, which was inspired by the Museum’s katagami stencils, in August 2018.

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 on 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 new programs celebrating Japanese art and culture at the MFA, including Junior Artists, a weekly drop-in art-making session for families; an MFA Family Guide in Japanese; and the Boston Festival of Films from Japan, held annually in February.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of the Ancient World; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 pm. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25) and is free to all visitors during Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Lunar New Year Celebration, Memorial Day, Free Fun Friday and Indigenous Peoples' Day. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About UNIQLO and Fast Retailing

UNIQLO is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading global Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures and sells clothing under seven main brands: Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam.tam, Theory, and UNIQLO. With global sales of approximately 1.8619 trillion yen for the 2017 fiscal year ending August 31, 2017 (US $16.87 billion, calculated in yen using the end of August 2017 rate of $1 = 110.4 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 truly global brand. Today the company has more than 2,000 stores in 19 markets worldwide including Japan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K. and the U.S. In addition, Grameen UNIQLO, a social business established in Bangladesh in September 2010, currently operates several Grameen UNIQLO stores in Dhaka. UNIQLO manages an integrated business model under which it designs, manufactures, markets and sells high-quality, casual apparel. The company believes that truly great clothes should be supremely comfortable, feature universal designs, are of high quality and offer a superb fit to everyone who wears them.

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 and