Fan Pictures by Kuniyoshi -Cats, Kabuki Actors and Girls

2024, June 1st-July 28th

1st Term June 1st-25th
2nd Term June 29th-July 28th

Will be closed on June 3, 10, 17, 24, 26-28, July 1, 8, 16, 22.

Opening Hours : 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Last Admission: 5:00 p.m.)
Admission : Adult ¥1000 / University and High school students ¥700 / Junior High School Students and below(under 15 years old) FREE


Enjoy the fan ukiyo-e prints and feel the breeze!

Uchiwa is a traditional Japanese hand fan, typically crafted with a round or oval bamboo frame and adorned with paper. During the Edo period, these fans were indispensable not only for cooling off during the hot summer months but also served as fashionable accessories and collectibles for kabuki enthusiasts, similar to modern bromides. Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), a ukiyo-e artist renowned for his wide range of subjects of the late Edo period (1603-1868), was prolific in fan picture production. His work, which encompassed more than 600 pieces, features humorous caricatures, vivid portrayals of kabuki actors, and lively depictions of beautiful women, making these fans beloved daily necessities in Edo.

While fans are typically consumable items, surviving examples are rare; however, those showcased in this exhibition are in exceptional condition. Among the 220 pieces displayed, approximately 100 works are being unveiled for the first time. We hope you will enjoy the delightful, intriguing, and lesser-known world of Kuniyoshi’s fan pictures.

Girl Playing with a Cat (1st term)

The world’s exclusive exhibition of Kuniyoshi’s fan pictures

Fans were used as practical products until they became dirty or broken. However, all the pieces showcased are in excellent condition, highlighting exceptional carving and printing techniques. This presents a unique opportunity to explore Kuniyoshi’s artistic allure through fan pictures that have remained in good condition—a rarity in itself.

Shadow Pictures: Cats Forming a Japanese Lion Mask, a Horned Owl and a Female Demon’s Mask (1st term)
Shadow Pictures: Cats Forming a Japanese Lion Mask, a Horned Owl and a Female Demon’s Mask (1st term)
Cats Juggling Balls (2nd term)

100 premiere works

Among the exhibits, 100 works are being displayed for the first time, including renowned pieces such as “Girl Playing with a Cat” and “Cats Juggling Balls.” This collection not only encompasses depictions of actors and beautiful women but also includes store advertisements and puzzle-solving games, providing insights into the daily lives and entertainment of the Edo period. Additionally, it showcases Kuniyoshi’s meticulous drawing skills.

Birds’ Peddlers (2nd term)
Benkei on the Boat (2nd term)
Stacked Box and Scarlet Carpet (1st term)

Featured themes: yakusha-e and bijin-ga

Kuniyoshi, renowned for his humorous caricatures and dynamic warrior depictions, frequently centered his fan art on yakusha-e (portraits of kabuki actors) and bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women). These subjects, deeply ingrained in the daily lives of Edo people, highlight lively and exquisitely rendered figures, particularly women. Attendees are encouraged to appreciate the beloved Kuniyoshi beauties, cherished by spectators of the Edo-era.

Evening Snow at Yushima (2nd term)
Evening Cool (1st term)
Spring Rainbow (2nd term)

Origin of Oshikatsu [supporting activities of one’s favorite]

Fans have historically played a crucial role in Japanese culture, dating back to the Edo period when fan pictures featuring popular kabuki actors were highly coveted. These fans allowed people to feel a daily connection with their favorite performers, much like today’s Oshikatsu, where fans support their favorite celebrities by inscribing names or messages.

Kabuki Actors Segawa Michinosuke and Sawamura Tosshō (1st term)


Adult 1000 yen
University and High school students 700 yen
Junior High School Students and below (under 15 years old) Free


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