Hodomoyoshi’s Fashionable Ôtsu Pictures

(Hodoyoshi toki ni Ôtsu-e, 程芳流行大津絵)

Publisher: Iba-ya Sensaburô

c. 1845-1846 


Ôtsu-e are traditional folk paintings sold to travelers in Ôtsu, on Lake Biwa near Kyoto.  The vast majority of Ôtsu-e are of a relatively small number of subjects, making them recognizable by both their simple style and their subject matter.  In this series, figures are paired with Ôtsu-e.  Although the prints are each signed “Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga” (一勇斎 國芳画), Kuniyoshi uses the pseudonym “Hodomoyoshi” (程芳), which may also be pronounced “Hodoyoshi”, in the red title cartouche adjoining the Ôtsu-e.  The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.  The pattern on the top of these prints is used on the dust jacket of Robinson’s book Kuniyoshi (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).



Figures: Chidori (千鳥) and Kiri-ishi Tange (切石丹下), he is on one knee holding a tub over his hand

Ôtsu-e: Daikoku shaving Fukurokuju’s head

Robinson: S43.1



Figures: Ihei the servant (yakko Ihei, 奴伊平)

Ôtsu-e: a retainer carrying a sheathed spear

Robinson: S43.2


Figures: Kamada Matahachi (鎌田又八) carrying a huge bell

Ôtsu-e: Benkei carrying the bell of Miidera

Robinson: S43.3


Figures: Katô Shigeuji (加藤左ェ門重氏) holding a sake cup

Ôtsu-e: Asahina Saburô drinking a huge bowl of sake

Robinson: S43.4


Figures: Kichizô (吉三), a young aristocrat, carrying a box

Ôtsu-e: a falconer

Robinson: S43.5



Figures: Miyamoto Musashi (宮本無三四) outside a doorway

Ôtsu-e: Demon and a hanging cloth

Robinson: S43.6



Figures: Teifu O-Shun (貞婦於俊) standing and carrying a bundle

Ôtsu-e: The Wisteria Maiden (see image at bottom of this page)

Robinson: S43.7


Figures: O-Yumi (於弓), wife of Awa no Jurobei, and her daughter O-Tsuro (娘おつろ) holding a straw hat

Ôtsu-e: a cat and a rat feasting together

Robinson: S43.8


Figures: The nun Seigen-biku (清玄比丘) in traveling dress

Ôtsu-e: an oni dressed as a traveling priest (see image at bottom of this page)

Robinson: S43.9


NOTE: Oni are demons with long nails, wild hair, two horns and a fierce expression.


Figures: Shimizu Kwanja Yoshitaka (清水冠者義高) raising his sword at a giant rat

Ôtsu-e: a blind man raising his stick at a dog

Robinson: S43.10


To the left are Ôtsu-e of the Wisteria Maiden and of an oni disguised as a priest.


“Robinson” refers to listing in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by Basil William Robinson (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1982) and its privately published supplement.