Eastern Flowers of Rough Stories from the Floating World: Ichiryubo Bunsha; Kotegara Hanji
(Azuma no nishiki ukiyo kodan: Ichiryubo Bunsha; Kotegara Hanji)
signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu, with artist's seal Kiri, and combined censor and date seal U-kyu, aratame (year of the hare , 9th lunar month, examined)
oban tate-e 14 3/4 by 10 in., 37.6 by 25.4 cm
From a story credited to Ichiryubo Bunsha (possibly Ichiryusai Bunsha); a character identified as Kotegara Hanji stands in the pouring rain near a group of rocks while watching in the distance a samurai named Kajii Sazen holding a sword threateningly across the torso of a kneeling man named Setta Naoshi no Chogoro.
The series Eastern Flowers of Rough Stories from the Floating World (Azuma no hana ukiyo kodan) illustrates episodes of stories as paraphrased in the descriptive cartouches by the writer Kanagaki Robun (1829–1894). Robun was the son of a fishmonger who partnered with the artist Kawanabe Kyosai (1831–1889) to set up shop as a literary subcontractor. He wrote comic fiction and supplied texts for ukiyo-e, and became a frequent contributor to woodblock prints. Published jointly by seven different publishers, the series title includes a pun of the word ‘kodan’ which phonetically means ‘story-telling,’ but the first of the two characters is here substituted by one that means ‘rough draft’ or ‘manuscript,’ thus emphasizing Robun’s abbreviation of the tales. The subjects depicted are from folklore, kabuki theater, and novels, and the names of the storytellers follow the series title in the red oblong cartouche in the shape of a page-turner. Robun’s texts are inscribed on the pages of a folded book.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 23
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 376, no. 202.1
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 24, fig. 16, p. 105, no. 20.1
Peter Duus, 'Japan's First Manga Magazine,' in Impressions, no. 21, 1999, pp. 31-32 (re: Robun)
Amy Reigle Newland & Chris Uhlenbeck, Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Fries Collection, 2011, pp. 89-90
Yuriko Iwakiri, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Taiyo 196), 2012, pp. 60, 286
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