Utamaro Kitagawa, Osome and Hisamatsu, Lovers

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Original Japanese woodblock print. 

Artist: Utamaro I Kitagawa (1753-1806)
Title: Osome And Hisamatsu
Series: Models of Love Talk: Clouds Form Over the Moon
Publisher: Yamaguchiya Chuemon/Chusuke
Date: c. 1800
Dimensions: 26 x 38.6 cm


“Models of Love Talk: Clouds Form Over The Moon” is a series depicting couples from various tragic love stories. This print shows Osome and Hisamatsu, the daughter of a wealthy pawn-broker and an apprentice to the shop. They are communicating with each other secretly via hand-gestures behind an older man’s back while he reads a letter worryingly. The older man depicted here could be Osome’s father.


The story involving these two is a popular theme in kabuki theatre. Both characters are expected to marry someone other than their lover, but they do not want to be separated from each other. In desperation, they decide to commit double suicide. Introducing the old man into the composition alludes to the metaphor hidden in this series’ title. Like a cloud that forms over the moon, obstructing its light, the interloper casts a shadow on the happiness of this couple.

More Information
Artist Name Utamaro I Kitagawa
Title Osome And Hisamatsu
Subject Beauty & Female, Male & Female
Dimensions 26 x 38.6 cm