Artist: Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川歌麿)

Print: Three double-page illustrations from Yoshiwara picture book: Annals of the Green Houses (Seirō ehon nenjū-gyōji - 青楼絵本年中行事)

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Dates: created,1804
Dimensions: 12.125 in,9.125 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Related links: Google maps - Yoshiwara Shrine - one of the only signs of where this famous district was; Freer-Sackler - original edition without colors; Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Waseda University; National Diet Library - go to number 12; British Museum - full set;

Physical description:

Illustrated in color in 原色浮世絵大百科事典 (Genshoku Ukiyoe Daihyakka Jiten), vol. 11, p. 69.

Three double page illustrations from a mid-19th Century printing of the book originally published Spring, 1804:

  • Display-room of a house of pleasure at night
  • Debut of a shinzō - kyōka poem by Jippensha Ikku
  • Niwaka festival - kyoshi poem by Sanritei Toshi

Nenju-gyōji, one of Utamaro's famous illustrated books, has been discussed in all major reference works of the last one hundred years, more recently by Shugo Asano and Timothy Clark, in their beautiful catalog published on the occasion of the extensive Utamaro exhibition held at the British Museum and the Chiba City Museum of Art, in 1995.

Note that the examples in the British Museum catalogue are printed in color, which the example in the Smithsonian from the Pulever collection are printed in only black and white. See the link above.


The British Museum says that the original publisher was Kazusaya Chusuke (上総屋忠助); printed by Jukushōdō Tōemon (霍松堂藤右衛門); and the text and a couple of kyōka are by Jippenshu Ikku (十返舎一九).


Also illustrated in a small black and white illustration in 浮世絵八華 (Ukiyo-e hakka), vol. 3 (Utamaro), Heibonsha, 1984, p. 77.


This edition in the Lyon Collection is most likely from a late, posthumous printing. This argument is strengthened partially by looking at the deep purple aniline dye used. It is most obviously visible on the deep purple robe of the woman at the upper left of the on the right-hand side.