Sanoya Kihei (佐野屋喜兵衛) (publisher ca 1717 – 1875)

Kikaudō (firm name - 喜鶴堂/喜霍堂)
Okamura Kihei (family name - 奧村喜兵衛)
Sanoki (seal name - 佐野喜)
Taihōdō (firm name until ca. 1804 - 太保堂)


Japan Arts Council - a set of Kunisada prints of otokodate also published by another house
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Toyokuni I example
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Shunsen example
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Kunisada II example
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Toyoharu example


Marks (#446). gives two dates for this Edo/Tokyo publisher. One is ca. 1717-1875 and the other is ca. 1800s-1875. He explains it this way: "Overlapping dates indicate that a publisher simultaneously operated at more than one location, a few even in other cities."


Artists published by this house include Eisen, Eizan, Hiroshige, Hokkei, Kuninobu, as Kunisada and as Toyokuni III, Kunisada II, Kuniteru, Kuniteru II, Kuniyoshi, Sadahide, Shunsen (aka Shunkō II), Toyokuni I, Toyokuni II, Yoshikazu and Yoshitora.

[Artists in the Lyon Collection published by this house have their names highlighted in bold type.]


"Sanoya Kihei began his publishing business around 1717. At first a publisher of books with and without illustrations, he added prints to his portfolio at a rather late stage. From the 1800s he [sic] issued beauties by Eizan and later Eisen. In the 1810s/1820s, he published an untitled series of horizontal prints by Shunkō II related to the Twelve Months, a very popular theme in Japanese woodblock prints.

From the early 1820s, he [sic] also issued actor prints, a topic he pursued constantly until the mid-1850s. With a few exceptions his [sic] actor prints are just average and well over twenty cases are known when Sanoya reissued already existing woodblocks with old designs and just modified the actor's face lines to portrait [sic] the actual actor of the performance.

Sanoya's stronghold [sic?] was clearly prints of beautiful women, a field which he dominated undisputedly. From the 1820s to the 1860s he [sic] issued several hundred designs. In the 1830s and 1840s, Sanoya predominantly engaged Hiroshige and Kunisada. With Kuniyoshi's series "The Fifty-three Stations along the Tokaidō" (Tokaidō gojusan tsugi no uchi, also known as "Beauties Tokaidō" (Bijin Tokaidō) he [sic] landed a major hit around 1832-33. The series took on the just issued first Tokaidō landscapes by Hiroshige and was so successful that Sanoya had to get new woodblocks for some of the designs as the original ones wore down from the many times they were used. Among the largest projects in the history of Japanese woodblock printing is the beauty series "Pictorial Selection of One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each" (Hyakunin isshu e-sho) by Kunisada that Sanoya produced alone from 1844 until 1848.