Artist: Kobayashi Kiyochika (小林清親)

Print: Umewaka shrine (Umewaka jinja - 梅若神社)

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Dates: circa 1879,created
Dimensions: 13.6 in,8.7 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Kobayashi Kiyochika
Publisher: Fukuda Hatsujirō

Related links: British Museum; Honolulu Museum; Tokyo Metropolitan Library; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Edo Tokyo Museum; Keio University; Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art; Tokyo Gas Museum; Yokohama Museum of Art; Harvard Museums; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Hagi Uragami Museum of Art; Chiba City Museum of Art; National Museum of Asian Art - the first of two versions; National Museum of Asian Art - the second of two versions; Metropolitan Museum of Art - Hiroshige print showing this shrine; British Museum - Yoshitoshi triptych of the Umewaka story; Gregory Allicar Museum of Art; Chazen Museum of Art; Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art - a second version;

Physical description:

In 976 a young boy, Umewaka, wandered off from his family and was captured by a slave trader who brought him to the area of what eventually became the Mukojima section of Edo. The boy died there from exhaustion and sickness. Later a wandering priest built a mound in memory of the boy. In time the Mokuboji temple compound was built there. The mound still exists today and every year a memorial service for the boy is held there on April 15.


"In Kiyochika's landscapes, Shinto shrines often convey moods of isolation. Umewaka Shrine, for example, was located far beyond the settled limits of the city, close by the east bank of the Sumida and well north of Hashiba ferry... it was dedicated to the memory of a kidnapped child who died here centuries before and whose story was perpetuated in the Nō play 'Sumidagawa.' The driving rain heightens the sense of isolation, as a woman tucked beneath an umbrella, her red undergarment... makes her way over the puddled earth; to the left a jinrikisha sits empty before a hut in which its puller crouches to wait out the rain."

Quoted from: Kiyochika: Artist of Meiji Japan by Henry D. Smith II, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988, p. 43.


In Color Woodcut International: Japan, Britain, and America in the Early Twentieth Century by Christine Javid of the Chazen Museum of Art it says on page 15: "In his nocturnal townscapes as well as his scenes of isolated Shinto shrines like Kiyochika embraces the mystery or at least the remoteness felt in those places most redolent of the past."


Illustrated in:

1) in color in 原色浮世絵大百科事典 (Genshoku Ukiyoe Daihyakka Jiten), vol. 9, p. 94.

2) in a small black and white image in The Edward Burr van Vleck Collection of Japanese Prints, p. 229.

3) in color in Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in the Collection of Chiba City Museum of Art (千葉市 美術館 所蔵 浮世絵 作品選 - Chiba-shi Bijutsukan shozō ukiyoe sakuhinsen), 2001, p. 94, #232.


There is another copy of this print in the collection of the San Diego Museum of Art.