Torii Kiyomoto

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Torii Kiyomoto was an onnagata[1] kabuki actor from Osaka who was also active in painting billboards and other kabuki advertisements;. The founder of the Torii school of artists, he painted in what would come to be known as an early form of the ukiyo-e style. Onstage, he went by the name Torii Shôshichi.

Moving to Edo in 1687 with his son Shôbei, he made his home very close to the entertainment district. He was unsuccessful onstage, like many other Osaka actors who tried to adapt to the Edo acting styles and audience preferences, so he turned to focus exclusively on painting advertisements and billboards for the kabuki theater. Soon eclipsed by Shôbei, who took the name Torii Kiyonobu in his artistic career, the pair established a school (style) of painting which would strongly influence that of the emerging ukiyo-e, and which would monopolize the painting of kabuki signboards through the Edo period and into the 20th century.

None of his work is known to survive today.


  • This article was written by User:LordAmeth and contributed to both S-A and Wikipedia; the author gives permission for his work to be used in this way.
  • Hickman, Money (1993). "Enduring Alliance: The Torii Line of Ukiyo-e Artists and Their Work for the Kabuki Theatre." Fenway Court, 1992. Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
  • Lane, Richard (1978). "Images of the Floating World." Old Saybrook, CT: Konecky & Konecky.
  1. Mason, Penelope. History of Japanese Art. Second Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. p280.