‘Comical Ukiyo-e: Humorous Pictures and the School of Kuniyoshi’


by Jordan Sievers

Staff Writer

The Edo Period (1603-1867) of Japan is well known for its economic growth and strong social order, but a lesser known fact is that people of this era also enjoyed comedy.

Comedic ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) were particularly popular and they typically depicted anthropomorphic interpretations of plants or animals, showing them in human-like poses and comical contexts.

This exhibition features the work of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, one of the last great masters of ukiyo-e, as well as prints by those who studied under him. Such early comedic works also reveal how ukiyo-e helped shape comedy in Japan today; Oct. 1-Nov. 26.

Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art; 03-5777-8600; 1-10-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; Harajuku Station, JR Yamanote Line. 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. ¥1,000. Closed Mon. (except Oct. 14, Nov. 4), Oct. 15, 28-31, Nov. 5. www.ukiyoe-ota-muse.jp