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Katō Suikei Zō (Portrait of Katō Suikei)

By Katō Norinobu

Colored paper; one scroll

Around the 1st year of Meiji era (1868)



 Like the portrait of Hibiya Mitsu, this work was painted by Kanō Norinobu (狩野則信) (date of birth unknown – 1882). This portrait represents Katō Suikei (加藤翠渓) (1818−1895), the father of Hibiya Kenjirō's (日比谷健次郎) (1836−1886) wife, Chō (晁), and the co-publisher of the first Japanese-German dictionary (Wadoku-taiyaku-jirin 和獨對譯字林) in Japan, with Hibiya Kenjirō.

 The Katō Family (加藤家) were gōnō (豪農) (wealthy farmers) and gōshi (郷士) (local samurai) who were allowed to bear a family name, and to wear a sword (myōji taitō 名字帯刀), and served as the head of Togasaki village (today known as Misato City, Saitama Prefecture) for generations. The family's status translates through how Suikei is represented dressed in a haori (羽織) (Japanese traditional jacket) with the Katō Family crest, wearing a wakizashi (脇差) (Japanese sword worn inserted through one’s belt) to his left. The books placed around him could suggest that he was also an excellent writer.

 This portrait is assumed to originate from Hibiya Kenjirō’s initiative to make portraits of his relatives and commissioned them along with the portrait of Hibiya Mitsu.


Japanese names follow the Japanese order: surname-name.

Japanese names and words are transcribed using the Hepburn romanization method.



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