Scheduled Exibition Transitions in the Depiction of Beauty: “Now This is a True Edo Belle!”

Exhibit Period

August 23 (Thurs) to September 24 (Mon, holiday)

Exhibit Times

9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(last admissions at 4:30 p.m.)

Museum closed

Mondays (except for September 17 and 24, national holidays when the museum is open); also closed September 18.

Admission Fee

Adults: 500 (450) yen; High School, College Students: 300 (270) yen Elementary, Junior High School Students: 100 (90) yen * Fees in parentheses are group rates for 20 or more patrons * Free admission for patrons aged 70 years and over, and preschoolers * Half-price for patrons (with a Disability I.D., etc.) with accessibility and special needs, and for one accompanying caregiver


Along with actors, beautiful women have long been used for ukiyo-e subject matter. Chobunsai Eishi, Torii Kiyonaga, Kitagawa Utamaro and other famous artists were also always masters of these figure portraits-called bijinga. Modeling the hairstyles and wearing the clothes which were in fashion in different generations and seasons, beautiful women make a regular appearance in ukiyo-e, promoting the latest styles to the average woman of their time.

It was not the men who were the connoisseurs of these images of the ideal woman as depicted in bijinga; rather, it seems that more fans were women. The reason: women were asking themselves, "How can I look more beautiful, like the women in bijinga?" In the kimonos, obi kimono belts, hairstyles, decorative combs, ornamental hairpins and other adornments, the women depicted in bijinga were in the forefront of fashion. To close the gap between herself and the beautiful women she idolized, the average woman needed to keep up with current fashions. She picked out items from the bijinga that she would look attractive in, transforming herself by "superimposing" these fashions on her own figure.

Women's pursuit of beauty is not a recent phenomenon. It is a saga that has continued for ages. In this exhibit, we hope you find satisfaction in the world of beautiful women as drawn by a variety of ukiyo-e artists.

Museum Talk

Presented by one of our curators on the following Saturdays:
August 25 and September 8, 2007.
All talks start at 1:30 p.m.
Payment of museum admission fee is required.