The introduction of lithography and photography to Japan in the late nineteenth-century led to the decline of woodblock printing. In a successful effort to revive this traditional art, the Tokyo publisher Watanabe Shozaburo began commissioning new woodblocks, founding the shin-hanga or new print movement in the early twentieth-century. Following the traditional collaborative form of ukiyo-e prints, production of shin-hanga works involved publishers, artists, and master carvers and printers. Other publishing houses such as Doi, Kawaguchi, and Unsodo also produced shin hanga prints, and some artists did their own publishing, notably Hashiguchi Goyo and Hiroshi Yoshida.
Shin-hanga favored traditional Japanese subjects, such as beauties, landscapes, and nature scenes, although with a modern sensibility. The movement produced many important artists whose works are eagerly sought after by collectors today. Kawase Hasui, Hiroshi Yoshida, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Shiro Kasamatsu are known for their landscapes. Hashiguchi Goyo and Torii Kotondo specialized in contemplative yet modern beauties. Natori Shunsen is associated with dramatic kabuki actor portraits, while Ohara (Koson) Shoson and Kawarazaki Shodo became best known for nature subjects.
Shin-hanga flourished until the 1950s, when the "sosaku hanga" or "creative print" movement became more popular. Many early woodblocks were destroyed during the great earthquake and fire of 1924, making prints from the pre-earthquake period extremely rare. The shin-hanga movement successfully revitalized the Japanese tradition of woodblock printing.