Cats in Ukiyo-e

2023, April 1st-May 28th

1st Term April 1st-25th
2nd Term April 29th-May 28th

Will be closed on April 3, 10, 17, 24, 26-28, May 1, 8, 15, 22.

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


Cats All Over – Life in Edo with Cats

Among the various animals that appear in ukiyo-e, cats were the most popular subject. They were not only depicted as pets but also as monsters or personified, dancing and attending schools. Chronicles of a life of a female cat and amulets as mice repellent were produced as well. This exhibition will present various works of cats, including masterpieces by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Utagawa Hiroshige and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, as well as “Omocha-e” (toy paintings) for children. Please enjoy the charming cats in ukiyo-e; thay are adorable, humorous, and sometimes mysterious.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Fashionable Cats Juggling Balls”

Utagawa Hiroshige “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival”
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Famous Products of the Provinces with Women’s Postures: Looking Painful”
Utagawa Yoshifuji “Small Kittens Join to Form a Big Cat”

Best Cats Exhibition Ever? – Kuniyoshi’s Masterpieces Gather Here

Utagawa Kuniyoshi depicted many charming cats in ukiyo-e. During the first term, all 5 works in the series “Cats forming characters” that are particularly popular among Kuniyoshi’s works will be on display. The second term will present the valuable masterpieces “Sonomama Juguchi Myokaiko Gojusannbiki” (fifty-three cats personified as the post-towns between Tokyo and Kyoto) and “Tatoe-zukushi No Uchi” (personified cat idioms) together. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Kuniyoshi’s masterpieces gathered in this exhibition.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Cats Suggested as the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road”
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Cats Forming the Hiragana Characters for Bonito”
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Printed Cat to Keep Mice Away”

Enjoy the Cat Stories

Manga featuring cats are popular today, but even during the Edo period, stories, novels, and kabuki with cats were extremely popular. You will see pictures of monster cats, old cats that behold the secret of martial arts and stories including that of “Okoma” and “Otama,” who lead chaotic lives as cats, avenging their mother’s death and seizing their position to serve for the palace. Please enjoy the cat stories that were endeared by Edo people.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Okazaki”

Cats in trend – multi-media art attempted by Kuniyoshi

In 1841, Kuniyoshi produced a round fan picture “Neko-no Hyakumenso” (the many faces of cats) depicting cats as actual kabuki actor’s faces. When it became popular, a kabuki play that featured these fan pictures was performed. Around this time, Kuniyoshi also produced pictures of acrobatic performers personified as cats and illustrations for the novel “Oborozuki Neko No Soushi” (Story of the Hazy Moon Cat). This exhibition takes you back to the time when ukiyo-e of cats where in their highest popularity, by featuring many works produced in 1841 and 1842, when Kuniyoshi concentrated on producing personified pictures of cats.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “One-hundred Faces of Cats”
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Illustrated Book “Oborozuki Neko no Sōshi”

Playing with Cats – World of Toy Pictures

“Omocha-e” (toy pictures) is ukiyo-e for children, largely produced from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji era. Most of them depict a world inhabited solely by cats, and we can tell that cats were also adored by children. Cats in the public bath, eating soba noodles and going out on a rickshaw ride – about 40 toy pictures will be on display in this exhibition. Why don’t we play with them and enjoy their adorable world together?

Utagawa Yoshifuji “Hotspring Spa for Cats”
Artist Unknown “Big Catfish and Comical Cats”
Adult 1200 yen
University and High school students 800 yen
Junior High School Students and below Free


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