Okumura Masanobu 奥村政信 (1686-1764)
Lovers in Kyoto Playing Five-in-a-Row
From the series Love in Three Capitals

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), 1720s
Woodblock print; ink on paper with hand-coloring
Gift of James A. Michener, 1991

Here, a courtesan and her client in Shimabara (the seal in the upper left designates the location as Kyoto) sit facing one another. The client’s checkered haori coat, which they have appropriated for an improvised game of “five-in-a-row,” is spread over their laps. In typical Kyoto fashion, the couple openly displays their interest in cultural amusements. They keep their private amusements hidden from sight, however, and we can only imagine what might be happening beneath the client’s coat.

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