Chiyoda Castle

from the Righteous Samurai Collection, 1920

by Kawai Gyokudō

IHL Cat. #2591


The first print appearing in Volume 1 of Gishi taikan, edited by Fukumoto Nichinan.

As written in the commentary accompanying the print, "The Chiyoda Castle shown in the illustration is the Edo Castle, which was originally the stronghold of the Edo Shogunate and the residence of the Tokugawa clan." The commentary goes on to provide, in its own words, "a very frank and accurate description of the castle in Chiyoda during the Genroku era [Oct 23, 1688 – Apr 15, 1704], a period of Japan’s power and prosperity." [1] Today the Castle ruins are part of Tokyo Imperial Palace.

On April 21, 1701 the Castle's Great Pine Corridor (Matsunoroka Corridor) was the scene of the attack on the elderly Kira Yoshinaka, the shogun's master of ceremonies, by Asano Naganori, young lord of the Akō domain, during shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi's hosting of the annual ceremonies featuring "Tsunayoshi's welcoming emissaries bearing New Year's greetings from the emperor, Higashiyama, and retired emperor, Reigen, who resided in the imperial capital, Heian (modern Kyoto)." [2]

[1] my translation of the commentary, the original of which is shown below

[2] The Forty-Seven Rōnin: The Vendetta in History, John A. Tucker, Cambridge University Press, 2018, p. 1.

Print Details

artist signature and seal

click on image to enlarge

Tribute Preceding Print by

Shirakawa Tomokichi 白川朋吉 (1873-1963), Osaka businessman and politician,

from Volume 1 of Gishi Taikan

image source: The Early Japanese Book Portal Database, Art Research Center AkoRH-R0419-1

click on image to enlarge


Print Commentary from Volume 1 of Gishi Taikan

image source: The Early Japanese Book Portal Database, Art Research Center AkoRH-R0419-1

Artist Profile

image source: Shigeru Tamura(1909-1987, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Kawai Gyokudō 川合玉堂 (1873-1957) 

Kawai Gyokudō, born in Aichi prefecture and raised in Gifu prefecture, created richly lyrical paintings of Japan’s natural environment and its people’s manners and customs. Gyokudō studied Maruyama Shijō painting with Mochizuki Gyokusen 望月玉泉 (1834-1913) and Kōno Bairei 幸野楳嶺 (1844-1895) in Kyoto before moving to Tokyo at the age of twenty-three. In Tokyo, he incorporated the Kanō school style into his work under the guidance of Hashimoto Gahō 橋本 雅邦 (1835-1908), enhancing and expanding his painting from traditional to the more modern. Gyokudō became a central figure in the Tokyo art world, serving as a judge at the official exhibitions, teaching at the Tokyo Fine Arts School (now Tokyo University of the Arts), and being appointed an Imperial Household Artist. In 1940, he was awarded the Order of Culture.

source: Yamatane Museum of Art