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Sadahiro signature
Japanese Characters:
Ukiyo Sadahiro (1821-35); Gochôtei Sadahiro; Gorakutei Sadahiro; Gosôtei Sadahiro; Gokitei Sadahiro; Utagawa Sadahiro (歌川貞廣); also see Comments.*
Active circa late 1820s-mid 1850s
Sada (貞 see seal at left); Hiro (廣 within a circle; see seal below right); Gochôtei

hiro seal Surnames Nanakawa (found in signature), Utagawa, Mitani; Personal name Kyômaruya Seijirô; Osaka addresses Tatamiyamachi Mistuderasuji and Nanba Shinchi; associated briefly with (a pupil of ?) the Edo artist Utagawa Kunisada I in 1828.

Produced some accomplished portraits, particularly in the beginning of his active period. Before 1842, his ichimai nishiki-e were almost exlcusively ôban yakusha-e, excepting a few ôban nerimono-e for the collaborative series Shimanouchi nerimono ("Costume Parade in the Shimanouchi District," 6/1836); after 1847, he produced mostly chûban yakusha-e.

In addition, Sadahiro illustrated ehon, including Nanka no yume ("The Dream of Nanka," 2 vols., 1853; Heitei-shunjin, author), an interesting work documenting the popularity of art societies which gathered at restaurants and engaged in painting and calligraphy sessions. According to the preface written by the superstar Edo actor Ichikawa Danjûrô VII, the author Heitei managed a shoga-kai (society for calligraphy and painting) that met regularly on the 25th of each month. Sadahiro's frontpiece for the book illustrates a meeting with 48 members, including the artists Keisai Eisen and Utagawa Kuninao; the actors Ichikawa Danjûrô VII and Iwai Hanshirô III; and the playwrights Hanagasa Bunkyô and Tatekawa Enba.

Sadahiro also illustrated an earlier book called Naniwa zasshi chimata no uwasa (also known as Machi no uwasa), "A miscellany of gossip about the town of Osaka," by Heitei Ginkei, 1835, that includes the Edo author's opinions of Osaka in a series of imaginary conversations with the local citizenry. In the third volume there is a vivid colloquial "discussion" about various Osaka artists, including Utagawa Sadamasu, Ryûsai Shigeharu, Shunbaisai Hokuei, Tenmaya Kunihiro, and Sadahiro himself. Although self-promoting and fanciful, it constitutes the only surviving contemporaneous record of criticisms involving Osaka artists of the 1830s.

* The scholar Roger Keyes has proposed that Sadahiro was synonymous with Hirosada (thus reversing the characters of the name), but his analysis is not universally accepted. Keyes has also argued that the artist's first art name was Kôgadô Tamikuni circa 1823-1826, given to him by Yoshikuni. Those interested in reading more about these theories should refer to TWOP and HOP in the Glossary.

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