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  • 執筆者の写真Michi

Hokusai Museum:Theater, Dance, Music —Enjoy the Edo Performing Arts with Hokusai

A Special exhibition is on view from Mar 19 to May 26, 2024.

It features the works depicting entertainment in Edo.

Fifty years before Hokusai got renowned for producing the series 'the Thirty-six views of mount Fuji' in his seventies, he had joined the Katsukawa School at the age of 19 and debuted as an ukiyo-e artist under the go (byname) of 'Shunrō' the following year.

Through displays of these many works, you can see how much Hokusai had deep affection for the theater entertainment.

Exhibition Highlights

Act 1 When Hokusai Was Creating Actor Portraits

*The Edo Theater District

The Edo theater district was moved to Asakusa in 1842, during the Tenpo Reforms.

Until then, it was located in Sakai-cho and Fukiya-cho (present the Nihonbashi Ningyo-cho neighborhood of Tokyo) and Kobiki-cho (present the eastern Ginza neighborhod).

Katsushika Hokusai

Perspective Picture: A Grand Kabuki Performance in the Eastern Capital

The Sumida Hokusai Museum (The 1st term)


*The Katsukawa School and the actor Prints by Shunrō

Under the tutelage of Katsukawa Shunshō, teacher of Hokusai, Hokusai had experience in producing actor prints and a great variety of work.

Katsushika Hokusai

Segawa Kikunojō Ⅲ as a Shirabyōshi

The Sumida Hokusai Museum

(The 2nd term)

葛飾北斎 「三代目瀬川菊之丞 白拍子」(後期)

This print is exhibited to the public for the first time.

Katsushika Hokusai


from The Fine Views of the Eastern Capital at a Glance.Vol.2

The Sumida Hokusai Museum (All terms)

葛飾北斎 『東都勝景一覧』下 境町(通期)

Act 2 Hokusai and the Edo Performing Arts

*The World of Privately Commissiioned Prints for Special Events

Hokusai created many surimono which were privately commissioned.

You can see the large prints produced for events such as recitals or announcements of succession to a stage name printed on a full-sized sheet of hōsho paper and folded in half.

This print has been incredibly well preserved because it is rare to have full versions that include both picture and text.

Katsushika Hokusai

Dance in the Japanese Room

The Sumida Hokusai Museum

(The 2nd term)

葛飾北斎 「座敷舞踊」すみだ北斎美術館蔵(後期)

*The Popularity of Jōruri Chanting and the World of Mixed Verses on Jōruri, Illustrated

The popularity of Jōruri contributed to the emergence of many amateur participants.

You can see many citizens in Edo enjoy Jōruri chanting and the long-beloved Mixed Verses on Jōruri.

Katsushika Hokusai

The Scene of San’kichi Being Impolite to Shigenoi, Koinyōbō Somewake Tazuna,

from the Picture Book with Mixed Verses on Jōruri, Illustrated

The Sumida Hokusai Museum

(The 1st term)

(right page)

葛飾北斎 恋女房染分手綱 三吉不礼の段(前期)

Act3 A Variety of Dances

*Visual Delight: A Varied Dance Lineup

Hokusai depicted people dancing as well as "sparrow dance".

Citizens were fascinated with the "sparrow dancing" design so much that it was used everyday items such as  plates, bowls, decorative hairpins and so on.

Katsushika Hokusai

Sparrow Dance

The Sumida Hokusai Museum

(The 1st term)

葛飾北斎 「すずめ踊り」(前期)

*Dance and Rejoice: Teach Yourself

This is a part of the Dance Instruction Manual for both a drawing and learning to dance.

You can see how accurately Hokusai depicted the movements of the body

Katsushika Hokusai

The Bad Guy Dance,

from the Dance Instruction Manual

The Sumida Hokusai Museum (All terms)]

葛飾北斎 『踊独稽古』すみだ北斎美術館蔵(通期)

The Final Segment: Hokusai and the Theater

You can see how much Hokusai had deep affection for the theater entertainment. through his works.

Edogawa Hokki

Susanoo no Mikoto Subdues the Demons, from the Kabuki Play Honchō Furisode no Hajimari

The Sumida Hokusai Museum (All terms)


For more information, please access here.





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