• Exhibition Overview

Tsutaya Juzaburo, often called "Tsuta-ju," was the renowned publisher who discovered and developed Utamaro and Sharaku. Focusing on Tsutaya, this exhibition introduces works by the cultural and artistic talents who gathered around him, including Utamaro, Sharaku, Kyoden, and Nampo. Tsutaya cultivated friends and contacts in the Edo-Yoshiwara and Shibaimachi areas, and became very knowledgeable of these districts. Examples of Tsutaya publications exhibited here include works set in Edo-Yoshiwara and Shibaimachi, kyoka-ehon (illustrated books of humorous poem) that used his networks in Yoshiwara, Utamaro's bijinga (pictures of beautiful women), and Sharaku's yakusha-e (prints depicting actors). Through these exhibits, the exhibition also explicates some of the cultural networks involved in the two red-light districts.


Tsutaya Juzaburo
-Publisher who Discovered Utamaro and Sharaku

3 November to 19 December 2010

*There will be an exhibition change during the course of exhibition

The stars of Edo period culture, ukiyo-e artists Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Toshusai Sharaku, the comic author Santo Kyoden (1761-1816) and the kyoka comic poetry author Ota Nanpo(1749-1823), flourished in the city of Edo during the latter half of the 18th century. The savvy mastermind behind all these celebrities was Tsutaya Juzaburo (1750-1797), the greatest avant-garde producer, creator and publisher of Edo culture. Tsutaya Juzaburo― the sole publisher and distributor of the Yoshiwara saiken, the popular guidebook to the Yoshiwara pleasure district;, publisher of sumptuously illustrated kyoka comic poetry books that combined kyoka poetry with ukiyo-e prints; publisher of the master comic author Kyoden with his biting satire of contemporary conditions; the genius behind the half-length portraits of beauties that allowed Utamaro’s talent to shine forth, and the “discoverer” of the enigmatic print artist Sharaku. These and other accomplishments reveal Tsutaya’s leading role in trendsetting and creativity in Edo period Japan.
Tsutaya was a superb businessman who solidified his position as a top publisher by, on the one hand, strategically establishing his income base through such sure-selling works as the Yoshiwara saiken and textbooks, and on the other hand, by establishing his shop’s brand name through his astute use of the popularity of bestselling kyoka poets and satirists. And yet, his list of accomplishments would not be complete without considering his “discovery” of the as yet unknown talents of Utamaro, Sharaku, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Jippensha Ikku (1765-1831) and Kyokutei Bakin (1767-1848).
Tsutaya’s publication of sumptuous illustrated books, ukiyo-e works and comic works that satirized the Kansei Reforms brought the ire of the powerful figures of the day down upon his head, and he was fined half his fortune in 1791. Despite this setback he continued on, and his willful publication of half-length beauty prints by Utamaro plus Sharaku’s actor prints brought continuing delight and amazement to the audiences of the day.
This exhibition introduces the multifaceted flowering of Edo media culture as seen in publications of this renowned publisher and “producer” Tsutaya Juzaburo.


3 November to 19 December 2010

*There will be an exhibition change during the course of exhibition


Sundays, Mondays and National Holidays 10:00-18:00 Wednesdays to Saturdays 10:00-20:00

*Last admission: 30 minutes before closing.
*November 3 and 22 closes at 20:00, November 23 closes at 18:00.


Tuesdays (except November 23), November 24

Adult General ¥1300 Advance ¥1100
College and High School Student General ¥1000 Advance ¥800

Elementary, Junior-High school students and under are free.
*A group discount applies for a party of 20 or more.
*With a certificate of disability, the admission fee of a disabled person and a care-giver will be waived.

Audio Guide

¥500 (English Available)