Subtitle/Alternate Title

Examining Utamaro's Bijin-ga Prints as Reflections of the Sociopolitical and Economic Conditions of Women in Edo

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Coleman

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Dr. Howe, Dr. Narcisi


Dr. Fabrice Usman


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis University

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

56 pages


Kitagawa Utamaro’s Edo period prints (approx. 1770-1800) frequently feature prostitutes from Edo's officially licensed entertainment and pleasure ward. These prints were by no means portraits—instead, they were closer to advertisements for the pleasure district. Utamaro erased individuality from these women, placing them into stereotypical roles or personalities to appeal to potential customers of the ward. Utamaro glamorizes the life of courtesans for profit; and in this blatant objectification of women, the stories of these women are lost and glossed over. Who were these women, and what did their daily life actually look like? How does Utamaro betray this in his idealized depictions?

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

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