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Jed Henry

Rooftop Hero


Archival pigment on handmade Japanese paper

17 x 12 in.

Asian Studies Reading Area, level 4

“The Edo Period was known for remarkably low crime. Samurai constables patrolled the streets, enforcing the strict laws, and citizens were often too busy with daily life to engage in delinquent behavior. But just like any large city, Edo had its share of bad actors. Perhaps the authorities would have appreciated the help of a friendly neighborhood hero from time to time… The caption is a translation of Stan Lee’s famous quote: ‘That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.'”

Jed Henry grew up in rural Indiana and “fell in love with video games”, most of which had their origins in Japan. “I escaped into the world of heroes, competition, and fun that Japanese gaming offered. Later, I served an LDS mission in the Tokyo area, where I fell in love with Japan and the Japanese people. Then, while a student at Brigham Young University, I had the opportunity to study Japan’s culture and history alongside my major field of animation. I began to wonder if there was a way to bring all the places, people, and characters I loved into one medium.

For hundreds of years, Japanese woodblock printmakers worked in a thriving popular art scene. Their prints depicted heroes, villains and monsters, spanning every genre from satire, to romance, to horror. This heritage is especially evident in Japan’s video game industry, a new chapter in an ancient, enduring culture. To celebrate Japan’s contribution to video games, Jed took his favorite game characters and returned them to the ukiyo-e woodblock-print style. He lives in Provo, Utah with his family.