Utagawa Hiroshige, 1797-1858 & Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865
Famous Restaurants of the Eastern Capital: Aoi no Mae
(Toto Komei Kaiseki Zukushi: Aoi no Mae)
the inset landscape panel signed Hiroshige ga with artist's seal Hiro, the actor portrait signed Toyokuni ga within the artist's Toshidama cartouche, publisher's seal Toriaburacho, Fujikei (Fujiokaya Keijiro of Shorindo), censor seals Fuku and Muramatsu, date seal Ushi-ni (year of the ox , 2nd month)
oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 9 7/8 in., 37.1 by 25.1 cm
The actor Ichikawa Shinsha I (Ichikawa Monnosuke V, 1821-1878) is in the role of Aoi no mae in the Futabatei Restaurant. Aoi no mae is a ghost from the play Kurikara otoshi (The Fall from Kurikara). She had been a general in the Genji army and won a great victory at Kurikara. When an ancient sword is discovered near the site of an old battlefield, her spirit is reawakened. The Heike Monogatari (Tales of the Heike) tells of only one Genji female general, Tomoe Gozen. Though the Genpei josuiki, an extended set of references for the Heike, tells of two female generals, Tomoe and Aoi, there is a historical concubine of the emperor in the Heike named Aoi no mae as well. The kabuki character could have been drawn from either of these sources. The relation to Futabatei is obscured.
A. L. Sadler, The Ten Foot Square Hut and Tales of the Heike, 2011, pp. 95-97
Elizabeth Oyler and Michael Watson, Like Clouds or Mists: Studies and Translations of No Plays of the Genpei War, 2014, pp. 123-124
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.30504
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.
site last updated
October 21, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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