untitled; given title: Ono no Komachi Bringing Rain (Amagoi Komachi)

Creation date
Sano-ya Kihei
color woodblock print
Mark Descriptions
Artist signature reads: Kōchōrō Kunisada ga Publisher's mark of Kikakudō (Sano-ya Kihei) that was in LLC next to signature has been trimmed off. Inscription [A poem by Ono no Komachi]: kotowari ya / hi no moto nareba / teri mo sen / saritote wa mata / ama ga shita towa. Rough translation: Though it is called the "Land Beneath the Sun," surely it must also rain here.
27-1/8 x 9-5/8 in. (image & sheet trimmed)
Credit line
Daniel P. Erwin Fund
Accession number
Not Currently On View


The poem reads, “Though it is called the ‘Land Beneath the Sun,’ surely it must also rain here.” “Land Beneath the Sun” is rendered hinomoto, a nickname for Japan.

During a severe drought the Emperor Junna (786–840) asked the court lady Ono no Komachi to pray for rain. She wrote this poem on a slip of paper and threw it into the pond of the Shinsen-en Garden. Three days of heavy rain ensued.

Komachi, one of Japan’s “36 Immortal Poets,” was reputedly beautiful, heartless, and doomed to tragic loneliness in her old age. Komachi became a synonym for “beauty” in the Edo period.

Purchased for the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1931.
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

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