Snow on a Village Road

from the Righteous Samurai Collection, 1920

by Morita Tsunetomo

IHL Cat. #2600


The tenth print appearing in Volume 4 of Gishi taikan, edited by Fukumoto Nichinan. 

Fukumoto comments: "The illustration shows the thatched houses of Nomura[1] in the suburbs of Edo the morning after the attack by the righteous samurai. It depicts a villager trying to sweep snow off the ground. The interesting thing is that the painter, who is a Western-style artist, has eschewed Western art [for this print] and painted in the Japanese style of nihonga. The lightness of his brushstrokes and the ingenuity of his lively brushwork are the key to his success."[2]   

[1] My reading of the village name "Nomura" may be incorrect. The commentary notes 野村 (やそん) "yason"?"

[2] My translation of the print commentary.

Print Details

click on image to enlarge artist signature and seals

click on image to enlarge

Tribute Preceding Print by


[Chōdō ? ]


from Volume 3 of Gishi Taikan

萬山不君㤙 一髮不輕我命輕  

Masuda Uemonnosuke (1833-1863), a principal retainer of the Choshu domain, wrote these words when he was order to commit harakiri in response to Kinmon Incident. He expressed that he could die for "Sonno joi" movement and for his domain. He was just 32 years old at that time.[1] 

image source: The Early Japanese Book Portal Database, Art Research Center AkoRH-R0419-4

[1]  Kyoto University Library Network

click on image to enlarge

Print Commentary from Volume 4 of Gishi Taikan


圖は、義徒討入の翌朝, 江戶郊外の野村の茅屋と,  雪を掃はんとする村人を描いたのである, 面白味は洋畫家としての筆者が, 洋畫よ脱出して日本畫を描ぎ, 其筆致の軽妙と潑墨の工夫を凝らしゝ處にあるのである.   

image source: The Early Japanese Book Portal

Database, Art Research Center


Artist Profile

Morita Tsunetomo 森田恒友 (1881-1933)

Morita Tsunetomo’s work was influenced by travel and study in Europe as well as his interest in Nihonga, an approach to painting that combined traditional Japanese painting conventions with Western painting techniques. Having first studied oil painting at the Tokyo Art School (later the Tokyo University of the Art or Tōkyō Geijutsu Daigaku), he traveled in France, where he became interested in French modern art, particularly the work of Paul Cézanne. Returning to Japan, he became the director of the Western Painting Department of the Imperial Art Academy, wrote a number of essays and commentaries on art, and turned to the painting of landscapes, mostly in a Western-influenced style and some specifically in the style of Cézanne. In his later years, he created a number of works in the Nihonga mode, using the traditional Japanese media of ink and paper, and sometimes color. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art