Katsushika Oi 「Night Scene in the Yoshiwara」 -Charm of Hand Paintings

Will be closed on November 6, 13, 20.

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(under 15 years old) FREE


Katsushika Ōi (date of birth and death unknown), an ukiyo-e artist in the Edo period, was the daughter of Katsushika Hokusai. Although only about 10 of her works have been confirmed to exist in the world, they are impressive and different from her great father’s works, continuing to fascinate many people. Among them, “Night Scene in the Yoshiwara” could be one of her best-known hand-drawn paintings, capturing the light and darkness of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. In this exhibition, we exhibit a number of original hand-drawn paintings from Ota Memorial Museum of Art’s collection as well as “Night Scene in the Yoshiwara” for the first time in three and a half years. Ukiyo-e prints were produced with the cooperation of a publisher, painter, carver, and a printer, and printed in large numbers. However, ukiyo-e hand-drawn paintings are one-of-a-kind works drawn directly on paper or silk by the artist. Our collection of hand-drawn paintings covers the long history of ukiyo-e and its wide range of genres, from Hishikawa Moronobu to Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Kobayashi Kiyochika of the Meiji era. Along with Ōi’s work, visitors can enjoy the world of hand-painted works by various artists.

Katsushika Ōi “Night Scene in the Yoshiwara”

1 “Night Scene in the Yoshiwara” on display for the first time in three and a half years

“Night Scene in the Yoshiwara” will be on display for the first time in three and a half years, and is recognized as one of the best-known hand-drawn paintings among Katsushika Ōi’s rare works. This is a masterpiece depicted using light and shadows, where she dramatically portrayed the night in Yoshiwara, the pleasure quarters of Edo. As a number of light sources are depicted in the painting, including the lanterns held by the customers and the lights inside the brothel, the figures of the people illuminated by the light emerge in the dark creating a dreamlike atmosphere. Please enjoy the brilliant brushwork by Ōi, including the beautiful colors and gradation.

2 Hokusai, Utamaro and Kiyochika – discovering the real brushwork of artists

In ukiyo-e, woodblock prints were produced in collaboration with artists, carvers, and printers, and it was possible to produce many prints. Therefore, ukiyo-e prints with the same titles are often stored in museums all around the world. On the other hand, hand-drawn paintings are valuable as they are one-of-a-kind originals that artists such as Hokusai, Utamaro and Kiyochika painted directly on paper or silk. We can see the real brushwork by artists in hand-drawn paintings, with the fine lines and beautiful color gradations. The beauty of the richly used pigments is also one of the highlights of this exhibition.

Katsushika Hokusai “Buddha’s Disciple, Rakan”
Kitagawa Utamaro “Courtesan Reading a Letter”
Utagawa Kuniyoshi/Utagawa Kunihide “Woman after Bathing”
Kobayashi Kiyochika “Ryōgoku-bashi Bridge in Civilized Tokyo”

3 People, landscapes, and stories – discovering works on various themes

One of the most depicted motifs in hand-drawn paintings is the so-called bijin-ga painting portraying a standing woman. However, The Ota Memorial Museum of Art’s collection of hand-drawn paintings includes many artists and genres, and you can find works on a wide range of themes, not just the bijin-ga paintings. This exhibition will be introducing the works divided into four themes, which are “people”, “common life”, “landscapes”, and “stories”. We will present the charm of hand-drawn paintings from various perspectives such as the changes in women’s customs, famous places all over Japan, and stories familiar to Edo people.

Kuwagata Keisai “Party under Cherry Blossoms”
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Lady Tokiwa and Her Children Wandering in the Snow”
Utagawa Hiroshige “Three Waterfalls in Nikkō: Kegon Falls (R) / Kirifuri Falls (Mid) / Urami Falls (L)”
Katsushika Taito Ⅱ “Empress Jingū and Her Son, Emperor Ōjin in Babyhood”
Kaigetsudō Ando “Picture Scroll of the Ogre Inhabiting Mt. Ōe”
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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