Matsuda Seifū

Matsuda Seifū 松田青風 (1892-1941) 


Note: This brief biography corrects information in the artist's bio appearing in the original myjapanesehanga site.

While Kendall Brown in Shin-Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan gives Matsuda's dates of existence as 1880-19781 and the National Library of Australia provides the dates 1896/7-19432, Enpaku (The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum) and the Library of Congress3 date his existence from 1892 to 1941, the dates I have relied on. While little information is readily available on the artist, The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum and several other sources write that Matsuda was a disciple of the master nihonga artist Kaburaki Kiyokata 鏑木清方 (1878-1972) and that around 1914 he could be found sketching in theater dressing rooms.4 We know that Matsuda created a number of small prints of kabuki actors (nigao-e) for the 1915 art magazine, Shin Nigao (a number of which are part of this collection) and he is also credited with the design of a series of actor prints in chūban format around that same time, examples of which are shown below. In the collection of Enpaku are a number of volumes created by the artist of sketches of wigs used in kabuki, also shown below along with a translation of the accompanying text.5

Prints from the artist c. 1915 chuban series of actor portraits

Sketchbooks of Wigs for the Kabuki Plays by Matsuda Seifu 

松田青風筆 『鬘スケッチブック』(まつ だ せい ふう ひつ かつら)

from the Enapaku collection

The sketchbook of Matsuda Seifu (1892-1941), who dedicated his life to the study of wigs. Seifu, a disciple of Kiyokata Kaburagi, began frequenting the dressing rooms of theaters around 1914, meticulously sketching each wig used on stage while adding delicate shading. The wigs used in Kabuki performances, numbering in the hundreds, are intricate and reflect the preferences of the actors, making the task of recording them seem endless. Seifu's sketches, left behind as a result of his work, are unparalleled in their achievement. As per his wish during his lifetime, they were donated by his widow to the Theater Museum in 1949 after completion. 

1 Shin-Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan, Kendall Brown, Hollis Goodall-Cristante, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996, p. 87.

2 website of the National Library of Australia


3 Library of Congress website

4 See Enapaku website

5 See Enapaku website In 1959 the publisher Engeki Shuppansha republished the artist's work Kabuki no katsura which contains 670 drawings representing 400 types of wigs.

last revision:


Typical Signature and Seal of the Artist

青風 Seifū

sealed 青 Ao 

青風 Seifū

sealed 青 Ao 

last revision:


Prints in Collection

click on thumbnail for print details


in the role of Kiyomasa, 1915

IHL Cat. #231


in the role of Chōbei, 1915

IHL Cat. #233


in the role of Araki Mataemon, 1915

IHL Cat. #232


in the role of Togashi, 1915

IHL Cat. #279

Nakamura Kichiemon

in the role of Katō Kiyomasa, 1915

IHL Cat. #278

Sawamura Gennosuke (IV)

in the role of Otomi, 1915

IHL Cat. #1319

Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of Yōjirō, 1915

IHL Cat. #2178