A history of cross dressing – a new ukiyo-e exhibition set to open in tokyo



An upcoming exhibition at the Ota Memorial Museum of Art celebrates the history of Corss-dressing in Japanese culture through the medium of Ukiyo-e wood block prints.

The culture of cross-dressing in Japan dates way back to the story of Yamato Takeru dressing as a woman to conquer his enemy as told in the Kojiki (‘The Records of Ancient Matters’ published over 1,200 years ago). In the Edo period, Geisha wore men’s clothing to perform on the streets of the Yoshiwara district as part of the’Lion Dance’ festival and male Kabuki actors specialised in playing female roles – a practice that continues today.(continued below)


In ukiyo-e pictures, artists often switched the genders of historical and fictional characters, and drew them as fashionable persons in “parody pictures.”
The idea of switching male and female was highlighted with the huge success of recent anime movie “Your Name”. Rather than being a new concept, this exhibition shows that switching gender roles has been a common part of Japanese culture since the Edo period.

The Ota Memorial Museum is a small space in the heart of Harajuku offering revolving theme based exhibitions of the world renowned collection of wood block prints collected by the late Seizō Ota V. It’s one of the best places in Tokyo to see wood-block prints.

時間:10:30 – 17:30
入場:一般700円 | 大高生500円 | 中学生以下無料

Cross-dressers in Ukiyo-e
2018, March 2nd – 25th
Ota Memorial Museum of Art
1-10-10 Jingu-mae Shibuyaku Tokyo, 150-0001 Japan