Gyotaku Fish Print

Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began as a way for fisherman to keep a record of the fish they caught. The fisherman would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then cover the fish with rice paper and rub to create an exact image of the fish. The ink was non-toxic and allowed for the fish to be processed for eating, while preserving records of fish species and sizes.

Here, a young visitor at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History shows off his Gyotaku fish print. He participated in the fish print activity at the museum to learn about the ancient art and to learn about basic fish anatomy. Check out the Ocean Portal Education Blog to learn more about gyotaku and how to do this fun activity.


Smithsonian Institution