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Torii Kiyotada VII (1875-1941)

Biographical Data


Torii Kiyotada (Torii VII) 鳥居 清忠 (七代目) (1875-1941)
Sources: A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976, p. 183; Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1992, p. 155;  Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints - The Early Years, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, p. 82. and as footnoted.

Torii Kiyotada VII was born in Edo (Tokyo) with the given name Saitō Chōkichi 斎藤 長吉.  His father was the artist Torii Kiyosada (1844-1901).  Torii Kiyotada VII was the fourth of the Kiyotada name and the seventh generation of Torii family printmakers for the kabuki theater.  At the age of eighteen he studied Tosa-style painting with Kawabe Mitate (1837-1905) and the following year he began creating actor pictures and theater advertisements, working for the Kabuki-za, Shintimo-za and Meiji-za.  He also created prints of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905).

Artist names () used by Kiyotada include Tadakiyo 忠清, Jusoso Takdakiyo, Kiyotada 清忠, Gekigadō 劇雅堂, Kunsai 薫斎, Manjinoya 卍廼舎, Nanryō 南陵, and Suisha 酔舎. 

His adopted son, Saitō Akira, was the famous shin hanga print artist Torii Kotondo (Torii VIII) (1900-1976).  Ueno Tadamasa (1904-1970), a student of Kiyotada’s, was authorized by the Torii family to use the name of Torii Tadamasa in 1949.

Torii Kiyotada’s most famous works are his 1895-1896 series of actor prints created with his father Torii Kiyosada titled Kabuki juhachiban (The Kabuki Eighteen), illustrating characters in each of eighteen plays selected by Ichikawa Ebizō V (Ichikawa Danjūrō VII) in 1840 as the most representative aragoto (rough-stuff) plays of the Ichikawa Danjûrô line of actors.1 He also designed a second series around Kabuki Juhachiban that was sold by subscription by Oana Shūjirō of Shūbisha, with two prints appearing each month over a period of nine months from 1926-1927.

1 Kabuki 21 website http://www.kabuki21.com/glossaire_4.php