Gyotaku Fish Prints

A teacher and a young boy paint a fish mold to create a Gyotaku style print
Smithsonian Institution

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 volunteer and a visitor do Gyotaku fish prints together at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, an activity that lends itself well to teaching about basic fish anatomy. See the Ocean Portal Education Blog to learn about how you can use Gyotaku to teach about basic fish anatomy.