Scheduled Exhibition Tokuriki Tomikichiro and Hiroshige’s ‘Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji’
Friday, March 10 - Sunday, April 16, 2017
9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(last admissions at 4:30 p.m.)
Nakagawa-machi Bato Hiroshige Museum of Art
Mondays (open when Monday is a national holiday), the day following national holidays
Adults: 500 (450) yen High School, College Students: 300 (270) yen * Fees in parentheses are group rates for 20 or more visitors * Free admission for elementary and junior high school students, and preschoolers * Half price for visitors with a physical disability certificate, and half price for one accompanying caregiver
Aoki Tosaku (1870-1946) was an entrepreneur who ran a fertilizer shop in the center of Tochigi Prefecture. When he read Kokumin no Tomo (The Nation’s Friend) by Tokutomi Soho, who was active as a journalist at the time, it made a deep impression on him, and he visited Soho’s home. Thereafter, Tosaku came to look up to him as his teacher. It was also under Soho’s influence that Tosaku began collecting works of art. This collection spanned a variety of genres, including Utagawa Hiroshige’s hand painted works and ukiyo-e prints, prints by Kobayashi Kiyochika, oil paintings by Kawamura Kiyoo, and Tokutomi Soho’s calligraphy and resource works. Tosaku, who collected and enjoyed artwork as a result of his relationship with Soho, also engaged in the publishing and distribution of books which reproduced the works in his collection. From these activities we glimpse a man who not only appreciated works of art personally, but also wanted many others to get to know them. In this exhibition, we introduce seasonal works from Tosaku’s collection and the reproductions he published, with an emphasis on those of Spring. What first comes to the mind of many Japanese when they hear of ‘Genji pictures’ may be the elegant picture scroll depictions of the Heian era novel The Tale of Genji.
However, the Genji pictures popular with people living in the latter Edo period were those in The Rustic Genji picture books (written by Ryutei Tanehiko and illustrated by Utagawa Kunisada [Toyokuni III]), and the ukiyo-e of scenes depicting Ashikaga Genji, the protagonist of the story.
The Rustic Genji resets the The Tale of Genji in the Muromachi period as a story intertwining Genji’s amorous wanderings and his family troubles. From the publication of the first edition in 1829 it immediately became a bestseller, and sequels were produced in rapid succession. In response to its popularity, brocade prints of the scenes and characters in the story also began to be created.
Whether due to rumors that it portrayed the inner palace life of then shogun Tokugawa Ienari, or the excessive opulence depicted in the book, when the Tenpo Reforms were instituted The Rustic Genji was banned before the story could be seen to its end. In spite of this Ashikaga Genji’s popularity did not wane, and Genji pictures continued to be drawn by numerous ukiyo-e artists in the years that followed.
In this exhibit, we introduce a variety of Genji pictures, focusing on the “Color Print Contest of a Modern Genji” series, the representative Genji picture work of Rustic Genji illustrator Utagawa Toyokuni III. While enjoying this twist on Murasaki Shikibu’s original Tale of Genji story, discover the Genji hairstyles and stylish fashions in the world of the Genji pictures which influenced the youths of the day.
A guided tour of the exhibit in Japanese (requires payment of the below admission fee)
Saturday, January 21, 2017, beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Presented by our chief curator.