Mori has been called “The Child of Edo” because of his evocations of old Tokyo, the city known as Edo before 1868. His interests extended to traditional rural architecture as well. This old-fashioned farmhouse looks untouched by the industrial age, and wooden tools litter the landscape.
This traditional-looking image was controversial in Japan, however, due to the artist’s stature as master craftsman in stencil-dyeing technique associated with officially promoted mingei (folk art). When Mori’s interest in developing his own motifs drew him toward the sōsaku hanga (creative prints) movement, which emphasized the modern, self-expressive, creative spirit of the artist, he was publicly criticized by his former teachers and supporters in the mingei movement. Mori’s personal stamp and handwritten signature can both be seen in the bottom right corner of his prints. While the stamp is typical of traditional Japanese artists, the signature is a western custom, reflecting the cross-cultural networks of the sōsaku hanga movement.