Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (genre )



Properly speaking kamigata-e are images from the Kyōto-Osaka area, i.e., more generally the Kanto. There actually is a specific term for prints from only the Osaka area and those are Osaka-e.


Professional artists or amateurs?

There were two major schools of art that produced ukiyo-e prints: Edo and the Osaka/Kyoto region. The predominance of the number of prints were those from Edo which employed almost exclusively professional artists, while the Kamigata region prints were produced mainly by amateur, many of whom were of the highest quality.

In an article in Andon 72/73 from October, 2002 on page 52 Andrew Gerstle wrote: "Almost all of the Osaka print artists before 1840 were amateurs (notable exceptions were Shigeharu and Sadanobu), and they tended to favour particular actors, although they would not limit themselves to only one acting family or lineage." Later Gerstle added: "Matsudaira Susumu also explored the world of Osaka's fan clubs or hiiki-renchū (or renjū). An intriguing element of much of the production of kabuki-related material in Osaka in the first quarter of the nineteenth century was that both the writers of the actor critiques (yakusha hyōbanki) and the artists of the single-sheet actor prints were amateurs and members of fan clubs. Furthermore, many of these artists and theatre patrons were active haiku poets and leaders of poetry circles. Osaka and Kyoto both also had strong traditions of amateur activities in the arts, such as the various kinds of theatrical chanting, singing, and dance. Osaka is somewhat distinctive for its cult of the amateur; the ideal was to continue to run a business while pursuing hobbies over a liÍetime."