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Morikawa Chikashige (active 1869 - January 1882)

Biographical Data


Morikawa Chikashige 守川周重  (active 1869 - January 1882)

Sources: Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), by Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, p. 30-31; [The] Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints, Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing Company, 2005, p. 97; [A] Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976, p. 12.

A contemporary of his teacher Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900), from whom he took the first character 周 (chika) for his main art name (gō) Chikashige, the artist worked in a style similar to his teacher, specializing in three-sheet (triptych) compositions of kabuki actors and plays (yakusha-e).  No information is available about his life, except that he was originally named Otojirō 音次郎 or 郎 (a name which occasionally appears on his prints.).  Even the dates of his birth and death are unknown, except for a reference to his being dead in a Yomiuri shinbun article written in 1900. 

In addition to his actor triptychs, of which well over 100 are extant, Chikashige produced a few kaika-e, prints depicting modernization,  illustrations for newspapers (nishiki-e and shinbun etoki) and for kabuki-themed novels (sashi-e), along with advertisements (hikifuda), examples of which are shown below.

In addition to the gō Chikashige, the artist used, at various times in his career, the names Ichibaisai 一梅齊 and Kichōsai 喜蝶齊 and he is sometimes referred to as Utagawa Chikashige 歌川周重, reflecting his Utagawa School lineage.

Examples of Chikashige's Work

Meiji nenkan azumanikki, 1875
[Meiji Eastern Journal]

Mameban news nishikie
Eiri shinbun 4, 1875
Yosha Bunko
Hikifuda (advertisement) for tea wholesaler, undated

Matching Pairs: The Contest of Power (Futatsu Tomoe Isei Kurabe), 1878

Shōni-yaku-ō Kindoru-san (Kinder-puwder), 1880
Hikifuda (advertisement) for King of children's drug: Kinder-Puwder 

Daini naikoku kangyo hakurankai ichiran no zu ueno koenchi, 1881
Illustration of the Second Industrial Exhibition at Ueno Park

Artist Signatures

Chikashige ga with Toshidama seal, 1870
Chikashige hitsu with Toshidama seal, 1874
Morikawa Chikashige zu ga, 1874

unread followed by 
Morikawa Chikashige hitsu,

Morikawa Chikashige hitsu with Toshidama seal,

Chikashige hitsu with Toshidama seal,

Ichibaisai Chikashige ga 


 Morikawa Otojirō