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3. Ki Baitei (Kyûrô) (1734-1810) with Iguchi Kikuni (1744-1817)
Sasagenuru - “getting a bucket [of water]” - A song and dance from the Mibu pantomime kyogen play
Signed: Konan Baitei sha
Seals: Ki Jibin in, Baitei and Kikuni
Technique: sumi and colours on paper, 118,3 x 26
Mounting: light green silk
181 x 38,6
Condition: old flaws, good


sasagenuru mizu no mo utsuru
oborozukikage hazukashiki
ushirogami shitai yorube no
Hitachiobi musubitometaki
kokorone o shirasu sugata no odori no te
chigiri oosete furukimi no urami o
kumu ya oketori

The water that is sacrificed also reflects the hazy moon; the dancers depicting the stirrings of souls draw with their movements from the anger of the old person when making promises that they want to tie the Hitachiobi together, offered to the venerated guardian god [in the background], shy of the light... Anger, anger is what one is going to express!

The kyogen play is about an older woman who is jealous of an older man dancing with a beautiful young girl. Hitachiobi are obi on which one writes one's name and which were offered to the deity of the Kashimajingu, the Kashima shinto-temple in the fief Hitachi (nowadays in the city of Kashima in Ibaraki). The deity then chose which obi belong together: the people whose obi were brought together could then marry each other. So she is angry because the old man tries to decorate the girl.

Ki Baitei became a painter as well as a haiku poet. It is not clear where he was born, but as a youth he sold fans in Kyoto, which he painted himself. By his early thirties he seems to have been employed in Kyoto artisan workshops. In the mid 1770s he came to attention of Yosa Buson (1716-1783) while working in a brocade manufacturing company, of which the owner was acquainted with Buson.

Baitei studied with Buson until the early 1780s and like Go Shun he was a live-in student. He moved to Ôtsu in 1783, but he had to return soon after to attend Buson in his fatal illness. He joined Go Shun to settle the estate in favour of the dowry of Buson’s daughter. Back in Ôtsu Baitei became a successful artist with enough students to support him. He sold well and lived a prosperous life with his wife Osode, also a haiku poet.

Ôtsu 2008
Roberts p. 8
Araki p. 1751
Rosenfield b43
French '74 p.31-32
Kyoto '98 p. 276

Iguchi Kikuni was a haiku poet from Ôtsu who made a living from a money changong business.