Hanegawa Toei

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  • Japanese: 羽川藤永 (Hanegawa Touei)

Hanegawa Tôei was an Edo period artist known for a particular painting of Korean missions to Edo (and a woodblock print version of it), but almost entirely unknown otherwise.

He seems to have studied under Hanegawa Chinchô (羽川珍重), and an entry in the Ukiyo-e ruikô indicates that he painted dragons and heavenly beings on the ceilings of Kan'ô-ji, a Buddhist temple in the Yanaka neighborhood of Edo. However, this is all that is known about Tôei from documentary evidence.

His famous uki-e (vanishing point perspective) painting of a Korean procession through the streets of Edo, with Mt. Fuji and Edo castle visible in the far background, is said to depict the 1748 Korean mission. Slips of paper attached to the box in which the scroll is stored at the Kobe City Museum indicate that it was commissioned for the young Tayasu Kojirô (d. 1653, age 9; son of Tayasu Munetake and grandson of Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune). However, for such an unknown painter to attract a commission from such an elite patron has led some scholars to suggest Tôei might be a pseudonym for another, more prominent, painter of the time.

A woodblock print version of this same composition, published by Okumura Masanobu, was long identified by art historians as having been painted (designed) by Masanobu; however, Ronald Toby among others have pointed out that the seals and signatures on the print itself identify Masanobu only as publisher and hanmoto (owner of the actual physical woodblocks, and therefore the copy-right), arguing that Tôei was most likely the designer of the print. Toby has further argued that both the painting and the print might not be depicting an actual Korean procession, but rather a procession of Japanese dressed as Koreans, as part of Tenka Matsuri, one of Edo's major annual festivals.[1]


  • Ronald Toby, "Sakoku" to iu gaikô 『鎖国』という外交, Tokyo: Shogakukan (2008), 250-251.
  1. Toby, 259.

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