History of Karigane-ya, Where Rimpa School Painter Ogata Kōrin Grew up

Ogata Kōrin was born as the second son of a high-class kimono merchant, Karigane-ya, in Kyoto.

In this article, I would like to introduce the history of the Karigane-ya.

First, let’s check the successive heads of the family.

  • The 1st head: Ogata Dōhaku
  • The 2nd head: Ogata Sōhaku
  • The 3rd head: Ogata Sōken
  • The 4th head: Ogata Fujisaburō

*Kōrin was the younger brother of Fujisaburō.

Karigane-ya was started by Ogata Dōhaku.

Ogata Dōhaku was originally a retainer of the Asai Clan in Ōmi Province.

The customers were Yododono (Chacha), Jōkō-in (Hatsu), and Sōgen-in (Gō), daughters of the Asai clan, and so the business prospered greatly.

Ogata Dōhaku then took Hon-ami Kōetsu’s sister, Hōshu, as his wife.

With this, Ogata Dōhaku joined the ranks of the cultured.

His son, Ogata Sōhaku, also participated in Kōetsu-mura, an art village created by Hon-ami Kōetsu.

At that time, Karigane-ya made Tokugawa Masako (Tōfukumon-in), the granddaughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu, a client and created huge wealth.

Masako’s mother was Sōgen-in (Gō), the youngest of the three Asai sisters, and had been close to the Karigane-ya.

Masako was married into the imperial family by the Tokugawa family during a time of tension between the Shogunate and the Imperial Court.

After marrying into the imperial family, the shogunate provided Masako with a huge amount of financial support.

In order to become familiar with the Imperial Court, Masako used to give luxurious kimonos to the women around her. She may also have been vainly trying to avoid people thinking that she lacked culture and sensitivity because she was the daughter of the Tokugawa family (a samurai family).

As a result, many orders were placed with the Karigane-ya.

However, after Masako’s death in 1678, the Karigane-ya lost its biggest customer and began to decline.

The third Ogata Sōken, who had assets of his own, started to engage in “Daimyōgashi” (lending money to feudal lords).

And when Ogata Sōken passed away, the three brothers (Fujisaburō, Kōrin, and Kenzan) inherited the vast wealth of the Karigane-ya.

Ogata Fujisaburō, the fourth head, tried his best to make the business work, but the money he lent was overdrawn and the business failed.

This is the history of the Karigane-ya where Ogata Kōrin was born.