Okumura Kichibe (奥村吉兵衛)

Kichibe OKUMURA was one of the Senke Jisshoku (The Ten Craftsmen of the House of Sen). The family has worked as scroll mounters for the three Houses of Sen, mounting pieces of calligraphy written by the school heads on hanging scrolls, creating folding screens and 'kamashiki,' a kind of placemat which is laid under the teakettle.

The present head is the twelfth generation headmaster.

It is said that the Okumura family were the descendants of the Sasaki clan and country samurai of 'Tani no sho,' the northern Omi Province. After the Battle of Anegawa, Saburo Sadamichi OKUMURA's master, the Asai family, collapsed, and he became a ronin (masterless samurai).
Sadamichi's son, Genrokuro Sadatsugu OKUMURA, made his eldest son Genshiro serve Toshiie MAEDA, and later the son became a clansman of Kaga Domain, calling himself 'Okumura Settsu no Kami Sadamitsu.'
His second son Kichiemon Kiyosada did not enter government service, and succeeded the family business on his mother's side, becoming a merchant and a scroll mounter in Kyo. Kiyosada was the first generation headmaster.

The second Kichibe became a purveyor to the Kishu Tokugawa family, being introduced by Kakukakusai, the sixth head of Omote Senke (the main branch of the Senke school of tea ceremony), and laid the foundations for the prosperity of the family. Over several generations, the men in the family died young, forcing them to adopt men as husbands for their daughters from the family's hometown, the northern Omi Province. The sixth Kichibe, one of the adopted sons-in-law, conducted investigations in order to compile the achievements of the Okumura family, making a record of mounting done by past generations as well as a family tree.

While the eighth Kichibe was said to be the best scroll mounter out of all the generations, he was also familiar with Kokugaku (the study of Japanese classical literature) and Confucianism, maintaining deep friendships with scholars and loyal supporters of "Revere the Emperor and expel the foreigners." Ironically, tea ceremony declined due to civilization and enlightenment which came after the Meiji Restoration, and the Okumura family was badly damaged. The ninth Kichibe succeeded the family during a period of hardship, but managed to reconstruct the Okumura family, which continues to this day.

Kichiemon the first (1618 - September, 1700)
His real name was 'Kiyosada,' and after he became a priest, and was called 'Sosei.'
In 1646, he came to Kyoto and changed his career from samurai to merchant.
In 1654, he began his business as a scroll mounter, and the store name was 'Omiya Kichibe.'
His wife was an aunt of Kyuraku KAMEDA, who was known as a renowned calligrapher and a friend of Baisao (or Maisao). The letters on the Okumura family's store curtain were written by Kyuraku, and still hangs at the entrance of the store.

Kichibe the second (1633 - December, 1719)
His go (pseudonym or professional name) was 'Kyui.'
The eldest son of the first generation. In 1698, he became a purveyor to the Kishu Tokugawa family and Omote Senke through the good offices of Kakukakusai, the sixth generation of the Omote Senke.

Kichikuro (吉九郎): the eldest son of the second Kichibe. He died young at the age of twenty-five.

Kichibe the third (1666 - March, 1743)
After he became a priest, he was called 'Kyusei.'
He was from the Matsuyama family of Motari Village, Azai District, Omi Province. He was adopted as the husband for a daughter of the second Kichibe. He was known as a writer of kyoka (comic tanka) and a renowned calligrapher.

The fourth generation, Kichigoro (1737 - November, 1781)
He was from the Tanabe family of Takatsuki Village, Ika District, Omi Province. He was adopted as the husband for the daughter of the third Kichibe.
His Buddhist name was 'Dojun.'

Kichibe the fifth (1755 - August, 1825)
After he became a priest, he was called 'Ryosei.'
He was from the Matsui family of Takatsuki Village, Ika District, Omi Province. He was adopoted as the husband for the daughter of the third Kichibe. In 1788, he lost everyting including the family tradition to the Great Fire of Tenmei. Among the paintings by Mitsuzane TOSA whose triad of collaboration with the three Houses of Sen are well known, he obtained legends to the two of them by Omote Senke Ryoryosai (sacred gem) and Urasenke Nintokusai (a mallet), and mounted them.

Kichibe the sixth (1780 - August, 1848)
His go was 'Kyuei.'
He was from the Miyabe family of Takatsuki Village, Ika District, Omi Province, and was adopoted to wed the daughter of the fourth Kichibe. He was interested in compiling historical materials, and decided to recompile the family tradition lost during the Great Fire of Tenmei, writing 'A Family Tree of the Okumura Family' and two volumes of 'A Record of Colors and Sizes of Mounting Preferred by the House of Sen,' producing important historical materials concerning styles of tea utensils and tea party rules for posterity.

The seventh generation, Kichijiro (1795 - September, 1837)
His go was 'Kyuon.'
An adopted man as the husband for the daughter of the sixth Kichibe. He died before his father-in-law.

Kichibe the eighth (1804 - July, 1867)
His go was 'Teisho' or 'Kakushindo.'
He was said to be 'the most excellent scroll mounter' of all generations. He was also interested in studying, and learned Confucianism under Koseki OKAMOTO, who later became a chief vassal of the Hikone Domain, and through his teacher came to know Seigan YANAGAWA and Koran YANAGAWA (husband and wife).
Later he became a priest and called himself 'Koan.'

Kichibe the ninth (1840 - November 1908)
His real name was 'Gido.'
The eldest son of the eighth Kichibe. He moved from Kamidachiuri, Ogawa-cho (present-day Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City) to Ebisugawa, Kamanza dori (present-day Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City). In 1883, Mushanokoji Senke Isshisai wrote a legend to the incomplete drawing called 'a pair of scales' among the 'triad of collaboration of three Houses of Sen,' and the triad was completed sixty years after the project was commenced.

The tenth generation, Kichijiro (May, 1869 - September, 1944)
The eldest son of the ninth Kichibe.

Kichibe the eleventh (1901 -)
The eldest son of the tenth Kichibe.

Kichibe the twelfth
A son of the eleventh Kichibe. He is the present head of the family.

[Original Japanese]