Gyotaku Fish Prints

Display a Traditional Form of Japanese Art


Brian Heustis with a gyotaku print.Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that was originally used for practical purposes rather than as a leisurely art form. It was originally developed in order for fishermen to have an accurate representation of their catch that they could refer to in terms of the shape and size of their catches. Over time the simple black and white prints evolved into more colorful representations that could be displayed as art. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that these prints spread to a western audience and have since been reproduced. Here at Maui Fish Printing, we provide gyotaku fish prints that are finely executed with expert craftsmanship. With over 18 years of experience, you can expect life-like and detailed results that will stand out as a work of art in your collection. Trust us in providing skilled gyotaku fish prints and give us a call today at 808-344-9954 or email to get started.



Brief Background on Gyotaku


The word gyo translates to “fish” while taku translates to “print” or “rubbing.” Essentially, the fish is covered in black ink with washi paper applied to and rubbed onto the fish to create an imprint. In the past, rice paper and nontoxic sumi-e ink were used. Nowadays there are more varieties of options that can be used for ink or paper such as kozo paper which is somewhat translucent with a clean print or water-based, non-toxic acrylic paint that will still allow for the fish to be consumed after washing the paint off. As such, in the past ink was washed off in order to allow the fish to be brought to the market to be sold, consumed at home, or released back into the waters. 

Our method is as follows:

  • ​​Step 1 - take a picture of your fish
  • Step 2 - measure your fish
  • Step 3 - release your fish - no-kill Fish Printing
  • Step 4 - Send it to us (we use our years of experience with your photo and measurements to commission a work of art to immortalize your memory). 

Essentially, fish prints were developed before photography could be made available to everyone. Now that we live in times where a smartphone can be your camera, we have humane practices that further evolve the process of gyotaku.

Expect great results with your expertly made gyotaku fish prints.

Gyotaku Fish Printing FAQ


Expert Craftsmanship

We have 18 years of experience with creating the imprints of fish onto paper with your photo and measurements as a guide. Details are captured well and transferred with precision for an end result that is very satisfactory. You can put your trust in an artist with over a decade of experience in the practice of gyotaku. Expect to have expert craftsmanship with finely honed skills with each print no matter its size.

With your fish print, you may choose to imitate the original result of a black ink imprint over paper for a beautiful outcome or you may choose to incorporate more of the fish’s environment and colors with fish painting. We provide different options for you to consider so that you can enjoy a product that is ultimately customized to you. Speak to us about your preferences and goals and we’ll be able to accurately provide the representation that will meet your specifications. Once the fish print has been completed, we’ll ship the work of art to you.

Get Started, Call Us Today

Get started with the process of creating a time-honored form of art by getting in touch with our team. We will be happy to guide you through any information or specifications of your catch that is being reproduced. We have several options that you can choose from as far as customizations and you may even choose to have alternate options as well in representing your fish from fish taxidermy alternatives, fish painting, and more. We’re happy to confer with you regarding your goals and preferences at any time. We hope to give you that classic look of gyotaku that will be fondly looked at for generations to come. Simply give us a call at 808-344-9954 or email us today.


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