The correct reading of certain names

This is just going to be a very brief post but upon suggestion, and also upon working on the Gotō chapter of Volume 3 of the Tosogu Classroom project a while ago, I want to urge collectors, scholars, and connoisseurs to refer to two Gotō artists in particular by their correct name, i.e. the correct reading of their characters.

One is the 11th Gotō main line generation Tsūjō (後藤通乗, 1664-1721). His official first name was (光寿) which is often erroneously read as Mitsutoshi because toshi is the most common name reading of the second character (寿), or unsimplified (壽). However, the correct reading is MitsuNOBU. This is pointed out by Fukushi Shigeo via the furigana (reading aids of syllables printed next to kanji) Mi-tsu-no-bu (みつのぶ) in all of his publications on the Gotō School (see picture below).


Also the Sano Museum uses the proper Mitsunobu reading in their catalogs (see picture below).


The Tōsō Kodōgu Kōza (again, see below) goes into detail and says the following: “It is common to refer to Mitsunobu to as Mitsutoshi but period documents of the Gotō family quote his name with the furigana Mitsunobu.” So, at least the Gotō family should know how to read the name of one of their main line masters, right?



Another name that is often quoted wrongly, and I did so myself in the past, is the official first name of the 16th main line master Hōjō (後藤方乗, 1816-1856). The kanji for his name are (光晃) and are correctly read Mitsuakira. There is some discussion about him being the only Gotō main line master who read the second character of his official first name with three syllables, a-ki-ra, whereas all others just used two-syllable readings, e.g. no-bu as in the previous case. Due to this oddity, it was suggested that his name should be read Mitsuaki, an approach which I followed myself for a while. However, Fukushi Shigeo, the Sano Museum, and Hajime Zenzai from Ginza Chōshūya (see pictures below) all quote his name as Mitsuakira (みつあきら) and therefore I am positive that this is the correct reading.





As mentioned at the beginning, let us all be careful not to mislearn certain name readings as it is so difficult to correct and “unlearn” later, talking from my own experience.

And whilst we are on the topic, I want to point out two more misreadings I see all the time on the net. One is yasurime, yasuriME, ME, and not yasuriMEI. Nothing to do with mei, i.e. it is not “file signature” (鑢銘, yasurimei) but “file marks/strokes” (鑢目). And the other one is Kiyomaro, KiyoMARO, MARO, and not Kiyomaru.

2 thoughts on “The correct reading of certain names

  1. My kodzuka (Jujo… from the possesions of the Tsugaru family) “Shisui” by Goto Teijo, Goto Renjo and Goto Tsujo kodzuka is signed Teijo, Renjo and Mitsunobu (kao). My personal records has reference to Goto
    Mitsutoshi as it has been used in articles before I bought it. Reading your clarification made my Day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s