Hidari Jingorō

Hear about Hidari Jingorō on Episode 33 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

Hidari Jingorō
The Famous, the Unrivalled Hidari Jingorō (Meiyo migi ni teki nashi Hidari Jingorō); by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Hidari Jingorō

Hidari Jingorō (左 甚五郎) is said to have lived from c.1584-1634,1 and whose real name was Itami Toshikatsu.12

Born in Akashi (now Hyogo Prefecture) he was discipled to a master carpenter of the Imperial Court.2

Said to have been left handed (hence the name ‘hidari‘)1 he is said to have worked on several different projects in his lifetime.

He assisted in the reconstruction of Negoroji in Kii Province,2 as well as constructing the bell tower of Hōkō-ji.12 Hidari also worked in Nishi Hongan-ji and Chion-in in Kyoto where he constructed the uguisu-bari (singing floors).1

The Nemuri-Neko

Later he moved to Edo and married a daughter of the Tokugawa families master carpenter.2 It was here he worked on projects such as the carving of the nemuri-neko in Tōshō-gu in Nikkō. His familiy continues to sculpt to this day.1


1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.

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