Artist: Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川歌麿)

Print: Yamauba shaving Kintaro's head

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Dates: circa 1802,created
Dimensions: 10.0 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock pirnt

Signed: Utamaro hitsu (歌麿筆)

Related links: British Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston;

Physical description:

In the 1908 book by Yei Theodora Ozaki on Japanese fairy tales it says: "Long, long ago there lived in Kyoto a brave soldier named Kintoki. Now he fell in love with a beautiful lady and married her. Not long after this, through the malice of some of his friends, he fell into disgrace at Court and was dismissed. This misfortune so preyed upon his mind that he did not long survive his dismissal—he died, leaving behind him his beautiful young wife to face the world alone. Fearing her husband’s enemies, she fled to the Ashigara Mountains as soon as her husband was dead, and there in the lonely forests where no one ever came except woodcutters, a little boy was born to her. She called him Kintaro or the Golden Boy. Now the remarkable thing about this child was his great strength, and as he grew older he grew stronger and stronger, so that by the time he was eight years of age he was able to cut down trees as quickly as the woodcutters. Then his mother gave him a large ax, and he used to go out in the forest and help the woodcutters, who called him “Wonder-child,” and his mother the “Old Nurse of the Mountains,” for they did not know her high rank."



1) in color in Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections: Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels, #166, 1989.

The notes to this entry say that while there is no publisher's seal on their print there had been another, first edition, by Enamoto Kichibei. (JSV)

2) in color in Japanese Prints: Images of the Floating World, Barry Davies Oriental Art, #62, illustrated on p. 63.


Sarah E. Thompson refers to the ax as this "...child warrior's favorite weapon..."