Hashimoto Chobei (橋本長兵衛)

Chobei HASHIMOTO (the first: dates of birth and death unknown, the second: date of birth unknown - 1647, the third: dates of birth and death unknown) was a Japanese-style painter (ukiyoe artist) in the Edo period. He drew pictures of hawks, which were highly evaluated as Chobei hawk pictures.

Masterpieces

There were three generations of hawk picture painters in Tsuruga in the early Edo period and their pictures were valued highly as 'Chobei hawks' or 'Tsuruga hawks'.

First generation

The dates of birth and death of Chobei HASHIMOTO the first was unknown but he was said to be originally a takajo (hawker). The recent research shows that he was probably a busho (Japanese military commander) named Masayoshi ASARI (who was later called Gyuran ASARI) of the Asari clan of Hinai-gun (the present northern part of Akita Prefecture) in the Sengoku period. Kinsuke (Masayoshi), castellan of Yagibashi-jo Castle in Hiki-gun, was skilled in takagai (hawker), and he left Hiki-gun for Kyoto in 1579. He served Nobutaka ODA, the seventh son of Nobunaga ODA, as a hawker in 1582 (Akita Domain family collection), then he followed Ujisato GAMO, an adopted son-in-law of Nobunaga ODA, to Aizu where he was assigned the head of takajo (a hawker) and pilgrimed all over the country. He was familiar with hawks and drew deep coloring pictures that described the ecology of hawks vividly: 'Rokkyoku Byobu' (exhibited in the private Tsuruga folk museum) was his representative work. He was involved in disputes between the Akita Ando clan and the Honshi Hinai Asari clan in 1598, made efforts to save ikkeshu (lineage people) of the Asari clan and became an official in Akita Yokote.

His masterpieces were scattered within the radius of 50 kilometers around Azuchi and several masterpieces still remain. Some masterpieces became important cultural heritages in Akita, Gifu and Fukui.

'Takazu (painting of a hawk) Rokkyoku Byobu' Tsuruga City designated cultural property (exhibited in the Tsuruga folk museum)

Second generation

Chobei HASHIMOTO the second is known as a painter who drew hawk pictures on a tablet and a folding screen, which the lord of Obama domain Tadakatsu SAKAI dedicated to Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine in 1936. Tadakatsu himself sent detailed instructions to an old retainer at the local level of domain from Edo several dozens times when painting the hawk pictures. In the letter dated May 16, 1635, he gave a special instruction 'hawk picture folding screens should be created and carried to Nikko, and for external fame, pictures should be drawn skillfully' and he showed satisfaction with the result in the letter dated April 8, 1636, 'twelve hawk picture plates were delivered safely and they have painted excellently' ('Book by Tadakatsu SAKAI vol.2'). Choubei the second had such skills that could have come up to expectations of his lord Tadakatsu who had the post of roju (member of shogun's council of elders), but died in 1647.

'Katakazu (painting of a hawk) honogaku (votive tablet)'
- Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine (1636)
'Hawk picture folding screen'
- Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine

Exhibition

'Planning exhibition Rare Tsuruga hawk picture artist Choubei HASHIMOTO' April 26 to June 1, 2008 Tsuruga municipal museum in Tsuruga City in Fukui Prefecture