Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849
The Poetry-Shell Matching Game of the Genroku Era: The Fulling Block Shell
(Genroku kasen kai-awase: Kinutagai)
with women pounding seaweed on a fulling block (kinuta); signed Getchi rojin Iitsu hitsu (Moonstruck Old Man Iitsu), commissioned by the Yomogawa (Four Directions Group) for New Year 1821, Year of the Snake
shikishiban 7 3/4 by 6 7/8 in., 19.6 by 17.4 cm
The first poem by Kogetsutei Yoshimura references the 'ki' (come) and 'kinuta' (pounding block).
kesa shimo haru no
uchigasumu sode ni
On this glorious morning
early spring has come
with pounding sounds of kinuta
veiled in mist
by the fragrance of plum blossoms
The second poem by Chikujuan Haruyoshi (Jiro) references dark seaweed sheets (nori) that resembles recycled paper.
Shizu ga suku
Shinashi mo nitaru
Sounding like the beaters of seaweed
the humble kinuta beaters
are making recycled paper
Theodore Bowie, Art of the Surimono, 1979, pp. 176-177, no. 109
Roger Keyes, Surimono: Privately Published Japanese Prints in the Spencer Museum of Art, 1984, pp. 78-79, no. 28
Matthi Forrer with texts by Edmond de Goncourt, Hokusai, 1988, p. 235, no. 263
Gian Carolo Calza, Hokusai: Il vecchio pazzo per la pittura, 1999, p. 253, no. V.7.6
Gian Carlo Calza, Hokusai, 2003, p. 239, no. v.7.6
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
August 10, 2020
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...