Transportation in Ukiyo-e – Cars, Ships and Railways

2022, October 1st-26th

Will be closed on October 3, 11, 17, 24.

Opening Hours : 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Last Admission: 5:00 p.m.)
Admission : Adult ¥800 / University and High school students ¥600 / Junior High School Students and below

FLYER
LIST

Discover the Transportation in the Edo Period through Ukiyo-e

Transportation is an essential part of our daily lives. In the Edo period, there were various transport systems by manpower, horses, and boats. Edo was a city of water, surrounded by Edo Bay and Sumida River, with many waterways running horizontally and vertically. Boats were an essential means of transportation for the people of Edo and shipping business between Edo and other cities flourished. On land, highways such as the Tokaido Road were developed for business transportation and became popular among the common people as a route for traveling long-distance. The various use of transportation is vividly depicted by ukiyo-e artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai.

This year also commemorates the 150th anniversary of the introduction of railroads. Ukiyo-e in the Meiji era (1868-1912) actively depicted steam locomotives and railroads, which were new encounters to the people. The railroad system along with horse-drawn carriages, rickshaws and other new forms of transportations were symbols of civilization.

While transportation logistics using the internet has developed in recent years due to COVID-19, this exhibition focuses on the various means of transportation in the Edo period, as a driving force of modernization.

Utagawa Hiroshige “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Kyōbashi Bridge and Bamboo Yards”
Katsushika Hokusai “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: Senju in Musashi Province”

The Reality of the Lives in Edo uncovered through Transportion

Let’s take a look at Edo depicted by artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai from the perspective of transport. On one hand, ukiyo-e depicts various figures who are “transporting” something of their own. We notice people serving food at restaurants, selling goods on the street, and carrying luggage on a trip. On the other hand, ukiyo-e also depicts a wide range of vehicles as means of transportation. Ferry boats for crossing rivers and ships used as taxis to visit pleasure quarters took advantage of the topography of Edo with many waterfront areas. People and horses carried luggage for travelers in relays between inns, and couriers delivered documents from Edo to Osaka in only a few days. In a time when there were no cars or trains, there was a more extensive transportation system.

By paying close attention to the various forms of transportation in ukiyo-e, we can understand how the people of Edo lived.

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni Ⅲ) Utagawa Hiroshige “Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road depicted by Hiroshige and Toyokuni Ⅲ: Fuchū, Fording the Abekawa River”
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Thirty-two Aspects of Women: Looking Weighed-down, the Appearance of a Waitress at Fukagawa in the Tempo Era (1830-1844)”
Suzuki Harunobu “Flowers of Beauty: Girl as Beautiful as the Actor Rokō”
Utagawa Hiroshige “Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Morning view of Nihonbashi”
Utagawa Hiroshige “Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Kawasaki”

150th Anniversary of the Birth of the Railroads- Various Vehicles in Ukiyo-e are on Display

In October 1872, the railroad connecting Shimbashi and Yokohama opened. October 2022 marks the 150th anniversary. Since about two years before the actual inauguration of the railroad system, ukiyo-e artists started to actively depict steam locomotives and railroads with imagination. The large number of ukiyo-e published reveals the enthusiasm for the new infrastructure. This exhibition features not only the railroad system, but also the wide variety of transportation in ukiyo-e such as horse-drawn carriages, rickshaws, boats, balloons, and other vehicles.

Utagawa Yoshitora “View of America”
Shōsai Ikkei “Steam Locomotive at Takanawa”
Kobayashi Kiyochika “View of Takanawa Ushimachi under Hazy Moon”
Admission
Adult 800 yen
University and High school students600 yen
Junior High School Students and below Free
Calendar

closed

2022 10

休館日

3,11,17,24,27-31

2022 / 10

3,11,17,24,27-31

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

Animals in Ukiyo-e

2022, July 30th-September 25th

1st Term July 30th-August 28th
2nd Term September 2nd-25th

Will be closed on August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29-31, September 1, 5, 12, 20.

Opening Hours : 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Last Admission: 5:00 p.m.)
Admission : Adult ¥1200 / University and High school students ¥800 / Junior High School Students and below

FLYER
LIST

Cute! Funny! A Little Weird? -Enjoy the Rich Variety of Expressions of Animals!

Various animals appear in ukiyo-e. In addition to pets such as cats and dogs, and domestic animals such as horses and cows, those believed to be good omens, such as cranes and turtles, imported from overseas, such as elephants and leopards, and even catfish, based on the superstition that catfish cause earthquakes, are depicted in ukiyo-e.   
Moreover, ukiyo-e artists used their imagination to create anthropomorphic creatures that do not exist in this world, such as Torakoishi.   
Ukiyo-e is indeed a treasure trove of animal representations. This exhibition introduces approximately 160 works, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the rich variety of animals in ukiyo-e. This summer, how about visiting the museum and enjoying the cute and a little bit strange ukiyo-e animals?

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Thirty-two Aspects of Women: Looking Troublesome, Mannerisms of a Girl of the Kansei Period” (2nd term)

Utagawa Yoshitoyo “Great Elephant Imported from Malacca” (1st term)

Ukiyo-e Reveals the Deep Relationship Between the People of Edo and Animals

Ukiyo-e portrays people doting on their pets as we do today. On the other hand, ukiyo-e also shows us aspects of the lives of people and animals that are no longer seen today, such as a dog snatching fish from a fishmonger, and a traveler on a horse. Ukiyo-e also depicts various scenes of everyday life, such as horned owls, which were drawn because they were thought to prevent smallpox, and dogs that were said to have visited Ise Shrine in place of their owners. Here we would like to introduce the activities of animals that sometimes exceed the imagination of modern people.

Suzuki Harunobu  “Cat and Butterflies” (1st term: 7/30-8/14)
Utagawa Kuniyoshi ” Toys of a Horned Owl and a Horse (the talisman against smallpox)”  (1st term)
Katsushika Hokusai “Chin (Japanese spaniel)” (2nd term)

Legendary Spiritual Beasts and Strange Creatures

Imaginary creatures appear in legends and tales, such as dragons believed to have the spiritual power to bring rain, white elephants believed to be the vehicles of Fugen Bosatsu (Samantabhadra), and haunted foxes and cats, also played an important role in ukiyo-e. But that’s not all. Ukiyo-e also features strange creatures such as Torakoishi, which is a combination of a tiger and a stone, and mysterious creatures that are combinations of all the signs of the Chinese zodiac. Experience the aesthetic sense of the people of Edo, who enjoyed not only pictures of traditional animals, but also delightful works created with the free imagination of the artists.

Utagawa Yoshikazu “Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Ōiso” (1st term)
Utagawa Yoshitora “Twelve Animal Signs of Oriental Zodiac Gathering to Form One Animal” (2nd term)

Dancing, Working, and Dressing Up – Active Anthropomorphic Animals

Utagawa Yoshifuji “Newly Published Collection of Cats: Peddlers” (2nd term)

Among ukiyo-e depicting animals, the most popular genre is anthropomorphic animals. In this exhibition, you will see rabbits wrestling, cats doing business and studying, birds fighting and having a party, octopuses dancing, and many more. The animals behaving like humans are very charming and humorous, and in addition, they show us things about the lifestyle and customs of the time. Please enjoy their charm.

Utagawa Yoshifuji “Sumō Wrestling of Rabbits” (1st term)

From the Masters to Minor Artists – Animal Pictures by 40 Artists

The highlights of this exhibition include masterpieces by famous ukiyo-e artists, such as “Tiger in the Rain,” a representative work of Hokusai‘s later years, and Hiroshige‘s “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival”, one of the most popular ukiyo-e drawn cats. Moreover, the number of ukiyo-e artists introduced in this exhibition reaches 40. Visitors can enjoy not only famous works, but also the works of unknown animal picture masters such as Utagawa Yoshifuji, who specialized in cute anthropomorphic animals, and Utagawa Yoshikazu, the creator of “Torakoishi”, who displayed an outstanding sense of humor.

Katsushika Hokusai “Tiger in the Rain” (2nd term)
Utagawa Hiroshige “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival” (1st term)

Highlight of the Exhibition

Kikukawa Eizan “Tiger” (1st term)

The tiger has been a familiar animal for Japanese people for a long time, despite the fact that it never inhabited Japan. Although sometimes depicted as a raging figure confronting a dragon, in this work, a very charming tiger appears from behind a bamboo tree with large, gawking eyes, a smiling mouth, and plump paw pads. The vertically long surface of this picture is a combination of two normal size ukiyo-e prints. This format was also called “kakemono-e“, and was sometimes displayed as a hanging scroll with a frame around it. The tigers in this work may have had just the right degree of friendliness for the people of Edo to display in their house for enjoyment.


Admission
Adult 1200 yen
University and High school students 800 yen
Junior High School Students and below Free
Calendar

closed

2022 07

休館日

4,11,19,25-29

2022 / 07

4,11,19,25-29

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2022 08

休館日

1,8,15,22,29-31

2022 / 08

1,8,15,22,29-31

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2022 09

休館日

1,5,12,20,26-30

2022 / 09

1,5,12,20,26-30

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

From the Genpei War to the Kamakura Period -Kiyomori, Yoshitsune and Yoritomo

2022, July 1st-24th

Will be closed on July 4, 11, 19.

Opening Hours : 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Last Admission: 5:00 p.m.)
Admission : Adult ¥800 / University and High school students ¥600 / Junior High School Students and below 

FLYER

Tracing the Rise and Fall of Samurai Warriors through Ukiyo-e

The Jishō-Juei Rebellion (1180-85) that at the end of the Heian period known as the “Genpei War” was a monumental battle between the warriors led by Minamoto no Yoritomo and the the Taira clan. Even after Yoritomo had conquered the Taira clan and established the Kamakura shogunate, a period of power struggles continued between Yoritomo’s successors and the influential court nobles, especially the Hōjō clan.   
Stories of the survival wars of samurai families became popularized as military chronicles such as “The Tale of the Heike” and “Azuma Kagami”. They were widely known as subjects of novels and kabuki plays in the Edo period, and were depicted in numerous ukiyo-e works as popular subjects.   
Recently, the time period has been recapturing popular attention, through animation and TV dramas. This exhibition will focus on this time period, to tell the story of the rise and fall of samurai warriors through ukiyo-e.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Ushiwakamaru Trains with a Long-Nosed Goblin at Kurama”
Mizuno Toshikata “Snow, Moon and Flowers: Lady Tokiwa and Her Children Wandering in the Snow”

Episodes of Glory and Tragedy that Fascinated People in Edo

The Taira clan established by Taira no Kiyomori, despite its brief era of glory, continued to fall and finally perished at Dannoura. Minamoto no Yoshitsune who destroyed the Taira clan with his genius military strategy, had to die an unwilling death as he provoked his elder brother Yoritomo’s antipathy. Many prominent vassals who supported the early times of the Kamakura shogunate with good faith perished in the struggle for power. The lives of those who lived during such turbulent times were often filled with spectacular victories and tragedies at the same time. These dramatic narratives, such as those of Yoshitsune, were featured in novels, kabuki plays, and ukiyo-e, and captivated the attention of the people during the Edo period.

Mizuno Toshikata  “ Jakkō-in Temple “
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Shunkan Seeing off Yasuyori who Returns to the City” 
Utagawa Yoshitora “Female Divers Encountering the Ghosts of the Taira Clan on the Bottom of the Sea at Dannoura”
Utagawa Yoshikazu “Ghosts of the Taira clan Attacking Yoshitsune’s Ship at Daimotsu Bay”
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Mirror of Famous Commanders of Great Japan: Heishōkoku Kiyomori” 
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Yoshitoshi’s Courageous Warriors: Hatakeyama Shōji Shigetada”
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts: Kiyomori Sees Hundreds of Skulls at Fukuhara”

Kuniyoshi, Yoshitoshi and Hiroshige – Heroes Portrayed by Ukiyo-e Artists

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, a leading artist of musha-e, drew many warriors of the Genpei period. He depicted various stories from this time period with a familiar yet powerful style. This fascination was carried on by his pupils, especially Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, who continued to depict the subject with sophisticated style through the Meiji period.  
This section exhibits various works, including the grandeur musha-e and caricatures by Utagawa Hiroshige, the master of landscape pictures, to demonstrate the rich and unique styles of ukiyo-e artists.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidō Road: Mitake, Akushichibyōe Kagekiyo”
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Yoshitoshi’s Courageous Warriors: Minamoto-no Ushiwakamaru Battling with Kumasaka Chōhan”
Utagawa Hiroshige “Collection of Entertaining Warrior Pictures for Children: Genzanmi and Kumagai”
Highlight of the Exhibition

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Mirror of Famous Commanders of Great Japan: Commander Minamoto no Yoritomo”

Spreading their wings, a flock of cranes is taking off into the sky. Minamoto no Yoritomo and his attendants look up at them. In August 1187, two years after Yoshitsune and his followers defeated the Taira clan in the Battle of Dannoura, Yoritomo held a Hōjō-e at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū Shrine in Kamakura. Hōjō-e is a ceremony that releases captured creatures, based on the Buddhist precept against killing. This picture is thought to depict the legend that a thousand cranes were released at the ceremony.  
Yoritomo seems satisfied as he watches the cranes, the symbol of good fortune, fly away. The scene may imply Yoritomo’s feeling of grand accomplishment when he finally achieved great power, as he defeated his old enemy, the Taira clan.   
Two years later, in 1189, Yoritomo eliminated his younger brother Yoshitsune who had developed a hostile relationship with him and Fujiwara no Yasuhira, who had sheltered Yoshitsune. In 1192, Yoritomo became a Shogun and established a new age of samurai.

Admission
Adult 800 yen
University and High school students 600 yen
Junior High School Students and below Free
Calendar

closed

2022 07

休館日

4,11,19,25-29

2022 / 07

4,11,19,25-29

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

Hokusai and His Rivals

2022, April 22nd-June 26th

1st Term April 22nd-May 22nd
2nd Term May 27th-June 26th

Will be closed on April 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23-26, 30, June 6, 13, 20.

Katsushika Hokusai is a worldly famous ukiyo-e artist. He achieved great fame with his landscape pictures, including “Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji” and works in various other genres. Naturally, however, Hokusai was not the only ukiyo-e artist active during the time. A large number of ukiyo-e artists competed with Hokusai, and influenced each other’s works. This exhibition will not only focus on Hokusai’s works, but put them in conversation with the works by more than 15 artists who were contemporaneous with Hokusai or succeeded him.

Katsushika Hokusai “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa”(2nd term)

Utagawa Hiroshige “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: Wind-tossed Waves at Shichirigahama in Sagami Province” (2nd term)

Introducing the interactions between Hokusai and his rivals

The numerous exhibitions of Katsushika Hokusai held at various museums, mostly focused on his works exclusively. Utagawa Hiroshige, who also excelled at landscape pictures, is the only other artist whose works have been presented in comparison. This exhibition will not only present works by Utagawa Hiroshige, but also those by many other artists such as Tōshūsai Sharaku, Keisai Eisen, and Utagawa Kuniyoshi, who were active in the same period, to introduce Hokusai’s relationship and interactions with such ukiyo-e artists who worked during his time.

Katsushika Hokusai “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fujii: Under Mannen-bashi Bridge at Fukagawa” (2nd term)
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji Viewed from Edo: View of Mt. Fuji beneath Shin-Ōhashi Bridge” (2nd term)

An extensive exhibition with a wide variety of genres

Hokusai’s rivalry with numerous artists is an indication of how he was active in so many different genres. We will put Hokusai’s late masterpiece, “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji” and a wide range of other works, including pictures of kabuki actors, warriors, landscapes, and beautiful women, in dialogue with works by other artists on display.

Katsushika Hokusai “Kabuki Actor, Ichikawa Komazō Ⅲ” (2nd term)
Tōshūsai Sharaku “Kabuki Actor Segawa Tomisaburō Ⅱas Yadorigi, a Wife of Ōgishi Kurando” (2nd term)
Katsushika Hokusai “Warriors, Kamakura no Gongorō Kagemasa and Torinoumi Yasaburō Yasunori” (1st term)
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “One Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Water Margin: Shutsurinryū Sūen” (1st term)

Discovering works by succeeding artists who learned from Hokusai

Hokusai not only had a huge impact on the works of rivaling artists of his generation but also on the artists of the following generation. His influence extended beyond his direct pupils, to the artists who belonged to different schools. This exhibition introduces works by artists of the generation after Hokusai, who learned through imitating his works.

Utagawa Hirokage “Comical Views of Famous Places in Edo: No. 4, Fishermen at Ochanomizu” (2nd term)
Ochiai Yoshiiku “One Hundred Ghost Stories: Kohada Koheiji” (1st term)

Highlight of the Exhibition

Katsushika Hokusai “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: Seashore at Nobotoura” (1st term)
Utagawa Hiroshige “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: Entrance of Enoshima Island in Sagami Province” (1st term)

葛飾北斎「冨嶽三十六景 登戸浦」(前期)
歌川広重「冨士三十六景 相模江之島入口」(前期)

After the death of Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige published his new series “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji”. Although the location differs, Hokusai and Hiroshige both depicted Mt. Fuji viewed through a torii gate. Hokusai attempted a geometric and eccentric composition while Hiroshige’s composition seems to be depicting the scenery as he saw it. These works which are of the same subject, brings forward the distinct difference of their artistic styles.


Admission
Adult 1000 yen
University and High school students 700 yen
Junior High School Students and below Free
Calendar

Closed

2022 04

休館日

1-21, 25

2022 / 04

1-21, 25

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2022 05

休館日

2, 9, 16, 23-26, 30

2022 / 05

2, 9, 16, 23-26, 30

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2022 06

休館日

6, 13, 20, 27-30

2022 / 06

6, 13, 20, 27-30

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

Red -The History of Ukiyo-e from the Perspective of Color

2022, March 4th-27th

Will be closed on March 7, 14 22.


Gorgeous Red Color in the Spotlight

Although ukiyo-e works are full of rich colors, red is the most important paint to make the whole work gorgeous and add tension to the piece. The exhibition will explore the beauty of red that fascinated people in the Edo and Meiji Era, by carefully selecting about 60 ukiyo-e paintings with impressive vivid red.

Katsukawa Shunchō “Kabuki Actor Iwai Hanshirō Ⅳ in Dance of Seven Changes”
Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni Ⅲ)” Thirty-two Contemporary Appearances: Woman of Fussy Appearance: Looking Fussy”

History of Ukiyo-e Made by Red

Red is the most common color used in terms for ukiyo-e production, such as “Beni-e” (hand-painted red pictures), “Benizuri-e” (prints with red and a few other colors), “Aka-e” (red pictures), and “Benigirai” (red-avoiding pictures). The changes in the use of red paints show the development of ukiyo-e techniques. We will introduce a new way of looking at ukiyo-e that you can enjoy by paying attention to red.

Ishikawa Toyonobu “Kabuki Actor Segawa Kichiji ⅡPlaying Shakkyō Dance”
Suzuki Harunobu “Beauties of the Floating World Compared to Flowers: Wisteria,  Nokaze of the Matsuzaka-ya House in the Southern Direction”
Kobayashi Kiyochika “Conflagration at Ryōgoku on January 26th in 1881”
Utagawa Kuniteru Ⅱ “Kyōbashi Bridge Seen from the Group of Brick Buildings in Tokyo”

Sharaku, Hiroshige and Yoshitoshi – Their Techniques of Using “Red”

Shades of red have varied over 200 years of ukiyo-e history. Although it was a pale color during Harunobu and Sharaku’s time, it became darker in Hiroshige and Kunisada’s time, and it became vivid and loud in the Meiji period when Yoshitoshi was active. We will introduce how red was used by popular ukiyo-e artists.

Tōshūsai Sharaku “Kabuki Actor Nakamura Noshio Ⅱas Ono-no Komachi”
Utagawa Hiroshige “Peonies and a Peacock”
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Beautiful Women Associated with the Seven Stars: Full Moon”

Highlight of the Exhibition

Utagawa Hiroshige “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Kinryūzan Temple at Asakusa”

Here is a snow scene of Sensōji Temple. It emphasizes the whiteness of snow by drawing the large lantern of the Kaminarimon gate in front, and even more so by placing vivid red in various places. Safflower, one of the pigments used to make red paint, was valuable, and was not often used to print large areas in vivid red. However, it seems that the supply and quality of red paint had improved by the end of the Edo period, and Hiroshige began to use a large amount of vivid red in his works. Changes in paints have had a great influence on the appeal of ukiyo-e.


Admission
Adult800 yen
University and High school students600 yen
Junior High School Students and belowFree
Calendar

休館日

2022 3

休館日

1-3, 7,14,22,28-31

2022 / 3

1-3, 7,14,22,28-31

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

The Mind of Belief -Religion, Superstition, and Rumor

2022, February 4th-27th

Will be closed on February 7, 14 21.


A Variety of Ukiyo-e Works with the Keyword “Believe”

During the Edo period (1603-1868), a variety of folk beliefs were popular among the common people. From large temples such as Senso-ji to Inari shrines in the town, many temples and shrines often held fairs and events, which attracted a large number of people. The interest of the common people was not limited to the city of Edo, but also extended to the suburbs, such as Benzaiten in Enoshima and Ōyama-sekison Shrine in the vicinity, and Mt. Fuji and the Ise Shrine in the distance. People went out of Edo not only for worshipping, but also to have fun.
One of the characteristics of the folk beliefs of Edo is that their trends changed rapidly. For example, in 1849, three folk beliefs became a big boom but were fleeting. Ukiyo-e, which depicted the latest world affairs of the time, played the role of spreading these trends to people like SNS today. We will introduce a variety of ukiyo-e works with the keyword “believe”, including “namazu-e (catfish pictures)” which are based on the superstition that catfish cause earthquakes, and works depicting the rather suspicious news of mermaids.

Katsushika Hokusai “Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces: Rōben Waterfall at Ōyama in Sagami Province”
Utagawa Hiroshige “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Artificial Mt.Fuji (the New Fuji) in Meguro”
Utagawa Hiroshige “Ferryboats to the Ise Shrine on the Miyagawa River”

Making a Buzz with Ukiyo-e! Fashionable Deities

One example that symbolizes the changeable beliefs of the people of Edo is the phenomenon of faddish deities. In particular, Otake-nyorai, which was unveiled at Ekō-in Temple in 1849, became very popular. At the same time, other two deities were also popular in Edo, and attracted many pilgrims. At the time, many ukiyo-e artists such as Utagawa Kuniyoshi drew these popular gods in ukiyo-e, and played a role in spreading this trend

Incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai (Vairocana) Otake

Big Earthquakes, Epidemics and Superstitions –Change Them into Laughter

People in Edo believed in various superstitions in their daily lives, and these superstitions had a close relationship with ukiyo-e. For example, after the Great Ansei Earthquake in 1855, many humorous paintings of catfish, based on the superstition that catfish were the cause of earthquakes, were drawn and became very popular. Not only disasters, but superstitions related to epidemics also became a subject of ukiyo-e. When epidemics such as pox, measles, and cholera broke out, many caricature-style works were published, depicting superstitions related to diseases in a funny style.

Artist Unknown “Namazu-e Print: Catfish Lifting a Stone”
Utagawa Yoshifuji “Defeating Smallpox”
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Toys of a Horned Owl and a Horse (a talisman against smallpox)”

A Mermaid Appeared! Doubtful Topics Depicted in Ukiyo-e

In Edo, news that was a little suspicious and doubtful rumors became hot topics, and were often the subjects of ukiyo-e. For example, there is a picture depicting a mysterious mermaid-like woman who appeared out of the sea in Echigo Province. The woman prophesied, “There will be an epidemic in the future, but if you draw a picture of me and put it in your house, you will be safe,” and disappeared. Moreover, we will introduce a series of works depicting the seven famous wonders of Honjo in Edo.

Artist Unknown “Woman Came Out of the Sea”
Utagawa KuniteruⅢ “Seven Mysteries of Honjo: Oiteke-bori Moats”

Highlight

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Making Wishes to Datsueba”

Many people are worshipping an old woman with a slightly troubled look. This old woman was actually a figure of Datsueba, enshrined at Shōjyuin Temple in Naito Shinjuku, which became a popular deity in 1859 along with Otake Nyorai (No.4). Datsueba is a demoness who strips off the clothes of the deceased on the banks of the Sanzu River, which divides this world and the world after death. By the end of the Edo period, she had become a popular object of folk belief. In this picture, many people are making wishes of their own, such as “I want to be taller,” “I want to be stronger,” “I want to marry a nice person,” etc., in order to benefit from the power of the demoness, and she seems to be fed up. The design filled with people’s dialogues is also impressive here.


Admission
Adult800 yen
University and High school students600 yen
Junior High School Students and belowFree
開館日カレンダー

closed

2022 3

休館日

1-3, 7,14,22,28-31

2022 / 3

1-3, 7,14,22,28-31

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

Romance in Ukiyo-e

2022, January 5th-30th

Will be closed on January 11, 17, 24.


From Pure Love, Tragic Love to Adultery -A Collection of Love Stories from Edo

In ukiyo-e, we can see all forms of love. Celebrated artists such as Suzuki Harunobu and Kitagawa Utamaro depicted ideal love between beautiful men and women that fascinated viewers. On the other hand, the love-hate dramas of Kabuki and Joruri plays, based on shocking real-life incidents such as suicide, adultery, and murder following romance, were also good subjects for ukiyo-e. As well as beautiful romance, ugly relationships between men and women, just like in modern day dramas, also attracted people in Edo. This exhibition focuses on love depicted in ukiyo-e. Not only can you enjoy romantic pictures, but you can discover the real lives of Edo people, who had various emotions, such as earnestness and jealousy, just like us.

Suzuki Harunobu “Lovers”
Katsukawa Shunshō “Young Man Composing Poetries under the Cherry Tree, and Women Looking at Him from Inside a Curtain”

A Dangerous Love and Its Consequences

Portraits of men and women who seem happy are often depicted in ukiyo-e. However, let’s read into their background. A town girl, Omiwa, was troubled by a love triangle and lost her life because of jealousy, Yaoya-Oshichi, who committed arson to see her lover one more time, was given the death penalty, and a courtesan Urazato and her lover Tokijirō thought of double suicide since they were unable to be together. We will trace those sensational loves through ukiyo-e.

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni Ⅲ) “Kabuki Play “Akegarasu Yume no Awayuki””

Utagawa Kunisada “Comparison of Favorite Actors in the Eastern Capital: Seigen and Sakura-hime”

Handsome Men, Bad Men, and Stalkers – Men in Love

Sukeroku, a popular kabuki character, who bonded strongly with a courtesan named Agemaki, was a beautiful man and an ideal person as a lover. However, ukiyo-e depicts not only such perfect men, but also a large number of good-for-nothing men who could hardly be called heroes. Fujiya Izaemon fell into debt and had a quarrel with his lover, a courtesan named Yugiri; a monk named Seigen, who can be considered to be the first stalker, stalked Princess Sakura even after his death, and Sano Jirozaemon killed a courtesan who rejected him. It is clear that people were also attracted to miserable men who were tossed about by love.

歌川国貞(三代豊国)Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni Ⅲ) “Parody of Thirty-six Poems: Yaoya Oshichi”
Kitagawa Utamaro “Elegant Comparison of Affections: Osan and Mohei”
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “New Selection of Eastern Brocade Pictures:: Story of Sano Jirōzaemon”

Highlight

Suzuki Harunobu “Young Lovers Playing a Single Shamisen”

A young man and woman sit together by the waterside where irises bloom, playing one shamisen together. This work is actually a parody of the story of Chinese Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei playing one flute together. In the Edo period, this subject expressed the depth of love, which this picture is also based on. Here, Suzuki Harunobu’s depiction of the slender and unrealistic man and woman has a fantastic atmosphere. This work is also one of the masterpieces of Harunobu, who dominated the world with his graceful portraits.


Admission
Adult800 yen
University and High school students600 yen
Junior High School Students and belowFree
Calendar

Closed

2022 1

休館日

1-4, 11, 17, 24, 31

2022 / 1

1-4, 11, 17, 24, 31

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

Picture Books of Kawanabe Kyosai

2021, October 29tn-December 19th

  • 1st term :October 29tn-November 23rd
  • 2nd term :November 27th-December 19th

※Works change between two terms

Will be closed on November 1, 8, 15, 22, 24-26, 29, December 6, 13.

Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889) created many ukiyo-e prints from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period, having also received training in the Kano school of Japanese painting. Recently, his works have attracted attention, and exhibitions of both his paintings and prints have been held at museums all over Japan. However, his “picture books,” which are compilations of his paintings into a single book, have received little attention. This exhibition reveals the artistic world of Kyōsai, known as the “Painting Demon” thorough presenting large number of his picture books, which depict people, animals, and monsters with lively brush strokes.

Picture Book “Kyōsai Gafu”【2nd term】

Picture Book “Kyōsai Hyakki Gadan (Night Parade of One Hundred Demons)” 【1st term】

Above and beyond “Hokusai Manga”? The fascinating world of Kyōsai’s Picture Books

Kyōsai published a number of picture books, including “Kyōsai Manga,” “Kyōsai Donga” (Foolish Pictures), and “Kyōsai Suiga” (Drunken Pictures), with vibrant brush strokes that surpass those of “Hokusai Manga” by Katsushika Hokusai. Although there were many exhibitions of Kawanabe Kyōsai, only a portion of his picture books have been shown due to the difficulty of displaying works in book form. By featuring his picture books, this exhibition will delve deeper into the fascinating world of Kyōsai.

河Picture Book “Kyōsai Gadan” Volume 2-1【2nd term】
Picture Book “Kyōsai Manga”【2nd term】

Exceeding 420 pages! The Inexhaustible Imagination of Kyōsai

This exhibition will feature Kyōsai’s major picture books, including “Kyōsai Manga,” “Kyōsai Donga (Foolish Pictures),” “Kyōsai Suiga (Drunken Pictures),” and “Kyōsai Hyakki Gadan”. The total number of the picture books on display in this exhibition exceeds 420 pages. You will be overwhelmed by the never-ending power and imagination of Kyōsai. (*The works in the exhibit will be completely replaced half-way through the exhibition).

Picture Book “Kyōsai Donga”【1st term】

Picture Book “Kyōsai Hyakki Gadan (Night Parade of One Hundred Demons)” 【2nd term】

People, Animals, and Monsters: The overwhelming energy of miniscule drawings

Kyōsai’s picture books are notable for their lively depiction of people, animals and monsters as if they are dancing. His picture books are no larger than 21 x 14.8 cm, and some of his picture books, such as “Chikusa no Takara” (Treasures of Chikusa), are as miniscule as 9.5 x 13 cm. Note the vibrant expressions of people, animals, and monsters depicted at such a small scale.

Picture Book “Chikusa no Takara (Number of Treasures)”【2nd term】
Picture Book “Kyōsai Donga”【2nd term】
Picture Book “Kyōsai Gafu”【1st term】
Picture Book “Kyōsai Suiga” Volume 2【1st term】

Highlight

Picture Book “Kyōsai Manga”【1st term】

Kawanabe Kyōsai was fond of drawing skeletons, and they are frequently found in his picture books. The skeletons are not only accurately depicted as found in medical books, but also posed humorously, stretching and dancing as if they were alive. Looking at their vibrant facial expressions, you can almost hear their laughter.


Admission
Adult800 yen
University and High school students600 yen
Junior High School Students and belowFree
Calendar

close

2021 10

休館日

4,11,18,25-28

2021 / 10

4,11,18,25-28

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2021 11

休館日

1,8,15,22,24-26,29

2021 / 11

1,8,15,22,24-26,29

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2021 12

休館日

6,13,20-31

2021 / 12

6,13,20-31

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

2021, September 4th-October 24th

  • PARTⅠ Make the Gloomy World Laugh! – Caricatures and the State of Society
    September 4th-26th
  • PARTⅡ Astonish the Edo People! – Warriors and Landscapes
    October 1st-24th

※Works change between two terms

Will be closed on September 6, 13, 21, 27-30, October 4, 11, 18.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) was an ukiyo-e artist who was active in the late Edo period. Kuniyoshi made his debut as an ukiyo-e artist in his late teens. After an unsuccessful period, he made a big breakthrough in his early thirties with the series “One Hundred and Eight Heroes from Tales of the Water Margin.” Since then, he worked energetically on all kinds of genres of ukiyo-e including “musha-e (warrior pictures)” of heroes, “giga (caricatures)”, landscapes, “bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women)”, “yakusha-e (portraits of kabuki actors)”, and pictures for children. He also trained many disciples, and led the world of ukiyo-e.

The year 2021 marks the 160th anniversary of Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s death. In this commemorative year, we will reintroduce and explore Kuniyoshi’s life and his works.

Cats Join to Form the Vocabulary of Bonito(PARTⅠ)/ Private Collection
Cats Juggling Balls(PARTⅠ) / Private Collection

1.Overcoming Adversity

Utagawa Kuniyoshi is known for his resilient work during the unstable ruling under the influence of the Tenpō Reforms. During the reforms, the Tokugawa Shogunate imposed strict controls on the entertainment of the common people. Ukiyo-e artists were prohibited from depicting popular genres such as portraits of famous actors and courtesans. Under such restrictions, one of the genres in which Kuniyoshi found his way was caricature. His joyous and humorous caricatures of anthropomorphized animals became very popular. Although some of his caricatures went out of print being accused as implicitly satirizing the Tokugawa shogunate and he was sometimes summoned to the magistrate for such daring, Kuniyoshi was never discouraged and continued to produce new and inventive works one after another.
With the spread of COVID-19, our activities have been restrained and entertainment is limited. Because we are facing such a challenging time period, Kuniyoshi’s resilience towards adversity and the cheerful tone of his works appeal strongly to us.

Yoshiwara Sparrows’ Temporary Nest(PARTⅠ)
Minamoto no Yorimitsu and His Subordinates Attacked by the Demon Spider(PARTⅠ

2. Astonishing Large-Scale Motifs

Utagawa Kuniyoshi became one of the most popular ukiyo-e artists with the huge success of his “One Hundred and Eight Heroes from Tales of the Water Margin” series. Although Kuniyoshi became the leading artist of the genre “musha-e (warrior pictures)”, he was never satisfied and always tried to create new compositions and themes. Kuniyoshi’s series of warrior paintings with skeletons, fierce sharks, and other gigantic motifs filling up three large screens are his essential works. The people of Edo must have been astonished by the new artistic frontiers he began to explore in his early 50s.

Takiyasha-hime Summoning a Skeleton at the Haunted Old Palace at Sōma(PARTⅡ)
Chinzei Hachirō Tametomo Rescued by Bird Long-nosed Goblins(PARTⅡ)/ Private Collection
One Hundred and Eight Heroes from Tales of the Water Margin: Zhang Shun(PARTⅠ)
Reputed Chivalrous Men Wearing Kimono with the Pattern Designed by Kuniyoshi: Nozarashi Gosuke(PARTⅡ) / Private Collection

3.A large exhibition marking the 160th anniversary of his death

Kuniyoshi was not only skilled at caricatures and warrior pictures. He also created a wide range of fascinating works in various genres, including landscapes incorporating Western artistic expressions and “bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women)” of cool and lively women. This exhibition commemorating the 160th anniversary of Kuniyoshi’s death, presents a total of 160 works of various genres. The exhibition is divided into two sessions: “PART I: “Transform the Transient World into Amusement! – Caricatures and Social Conditions” from September 4 to 26, and “PART II: “Astonish the People of Edo! –Warriors and Landscapes” from October 1 to 24. The works exhibited will be changed entirely between the two sessions.

Night Raid at Horikawa Palace(PARTⅡ)
Famous Places in Edo: Kasumigaseki(PARTⅡ)
Brave Woman Okane in Ōmi Province(PARTⅡ)
Beautiful Women with Famous Products of Various Provinces: Wanting to Show Her Nape Beautiful(PARTⅡ)

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Portrait of Utagawa Kuniyoshi” (PARTⅠ)

Highlight

Corns’ Comic: Corn Swinging the Hair(PARTⅠ)/ Private Collection

Here, a corn is dancing with its hair swaying in the air. The corn is painted in imitation of the lion spirit which appears in a dance of the Kabuki play called “Shakkyō-mono”. You may have seen Kabuki actors on TV swinging their long red and white hair wildly. The same kind of dance is performed by a corn in this painting.
A singer and a flute player in the back are also painted as anthropomorphic vegetables, perhaps a pumpkin and a sweet potato. This innovative work of vegetables performing a kabuki play is a perfect example of Kuniyoshi’s sense of humor.


Admission
Adult 1000 yen
University and High school students 700 yen
Junior High School Students and below Free
開館日カレンダー

休館日

2021 09

休館日

1-3, 6, 13, 21, 27-30

2021 / 09

1-3, 6, 13, 21, 27-30

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2021 10

休館日

4, 11, 18, 25-28

2021 / 10

4, 11, 18, 25-28

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT

文化庁「ARTS for the future!」補助対象事業

Weather in Ukiyo-e

2021, June 26th-August 29th

  • [1st Term] June 26th-July 25th
  • [2nd Term] July 30th-August 29th

※Works change between two terms

Will be closed on June 28, July 5, 12, 19, 26-29, August 2, 10, 16, 23.

Various weather phenomena are depicted in ukiyo-e: clear skies, heavy rain, gentle snowfall, and rainbows after rain. Ukiyo-e artists expressed the ever-changing weather with delicate color changes or with bold deformation.
Japan’s diverse climate, which changes along with the seasons, has had a great influence on people’s lives in both the past and present. During the Edo period, heavy rains caused frequent floods, and unseasonable weather conditions sometimes led to famine.
Even today, with the advancement of science, we cannot control the weather.
Although we prepare for daily changes in the weather by relying on the weather forecast, in recent years, unpredictable abnormal weather such as heavy rain and extreme heat often hit us, and people’s concern for climate change is increasing.
In this exhibition, we focus on the weather depicted in ukiyo-e, and introduce mainly landscape prints created by such artists as Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige, and Kobayashi Kiyochika. Through the unique expressions of these ukiyo-e artists, you will be able to experience not only the aesthetic sense of the Japanese people who love the changing sky, but also the activities of the people who were sometimes at the mercy of the wind and rain.

Utagawa Hiroshige “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Ushimachi, Takanawa” [1st Term]

Kobayashi Kiyochika “One Hundred Views of Musashi Province: Suijin Shrine Grove by the Sumida River” [2nd Term]

Capturing a Variety of Rain

From light rain to thunderstorms, there are a wide variety of ukiyo-e works on the theme of rain. Some of them remind us of the “guerrilla rainstorms” that we have heard so much about in recent years. For ukiyo-e artists, how they express the variety of rain, which is difficult to draw, is a highlight that shows their techniques, and the dramatic changes in everyday life caused by sudden rain might have been attractive as a subject of ukiyo-e.。

Kobayashi Kiyochika “Umewaka Shrine” [1st Term]
Utagawa Kunisada “Scenery of the Evening Shower” [2nd Term]

Snowy Landscapes

In the Edo period (1603-1868), the Sumida River, Mt. Atago and Kan’eiji Temple were known for their beautiful landscapes with snow, and many snow scenes in Edo were drawn in ukiyo-e. However, it seems a little strange to us because snow rarely accumulates in modern Tokyo. In fact, most of the Edo period is considered to have been a Little Ice Age, and colder than it is today. This might be one of the reasons why many ukiyo-e of snowy landscapes were created.

Katsushika Hokusai “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: Morning after Snow at Koishikawa” [2nd Term]

Utagawa Hiroshige “Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidō Road: 47, Ōi” [1st Term]

Various Shapes of Clouds and Colors of the Sky

Highlighted in this exhibition are expressions of the sky that are unique to ukiyo-e and differ from reality, such as ‘spear-shaped’ haze and blue and red gradation. We introduce works that show unique and original depictions of the sky, such as Katsushika Hokusai’s Thunderstorm Beneath the Summit from Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, in which geometric patterns represent lightning, and clear weather and rain are expressed in the same illustration, as well as Utagawa’’s Plum Park in Kameido from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, whose bold color scheme features a red sky.

Katsushika Hokusai “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: Shower below the Summit” [1st Term]
Utagawa Hiroshige “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Plum Park in Kameido” [1st Term]

Abnormal Weather

In the Meiji era, ukiyo-e artists began to depict current disasters and incidents that had been prohibited to be drawn by the Edo Shogunate in the Edo period. Among them, many works that convey the flood damage to urban areas caused by heavy rain were drawn.

Hachisuka Kuniaki “Senju Great Bridge and Azuma-bashi Bridge Collapse in the Great Flood” [1st Term]
Artist Unknown “Mysterious Clouds Appeared in 1890” [2nd Term]

Highlight

Utagawa Hiroshige “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ōhashi Bridge and Atake”後期

This is one of the most famous ukiyo-e masterpieces depicting rain, which captured an evening shower that hit the Shin-Ohashi Bridge over the Sumida River (today, Chuo Ward sits on the west bank, while Koto Ward is on the east).
Among the people on the bridge, we can see a man wearing a woven-rush mat to avoid getting wet, and three men are huddling under one umbrella, which tells us that it was an unexpected rain.
The streaks of rain that cover the screen are made using two types of lines with different angles and shades carved into two woodblocks, then printed. The combination of the depiction of hazy Atake on the opposite bank and the lines of the rain skillfully emphasize the strength and depth of the rain.
Furthermore, the unsettling movement of the clouds is expressed by “atenashi-bokashi”, an irregularly shaped blur, at the top of the painting. A variety of techniques were used to recreate the scene of a violent evening shower and the panic of the people.
This piece, which is also part of Hiroshige’s late masterpiece, the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo series, is considered a gem which fully demonstrates his sensibility and strength in composition, refined as he continued to draw all kinds of weather.


Admission
Adult800 yen
University and High school students600 yen
Junior High School Students and belowFree
Calendar

close

2021 06

休館日

7,14,21-25,28

2021 / 06

7,14,21-25,28

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2021 07

休館日

5,12,19,26-29

2021 / 07

5,12,19,26-29

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
2021 08

休館日

2,10,16,23,30,31

2021 / 08

2,10,16,23,30,31

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT