New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts: The Ghost of Okiku of the 'Dish Mansion'
(Shingata sanjurokkaisen: Sarayashiki Okiku no rei)
signed Yoshitoshi with seal Yoshitoshi, block carver Chokuzan, publisher's information of Sasaki Toyokichi on the left margin with date August 1890 (earliest edition with three colors in the title cartouche)
oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 9 7/8 in., 36.9 by 25.1 cm
The ghost of the maid Okiku weeps while hovering over a well beside a weeping willow tree. There are two versions of her legend that form the basis of the play, Bancho Sarayashiki (lit. 'plate mansion'). In both, she is a maid in the household of a high-ranking samurai who is unfairly accused of breaking (or losing) a precious Dutch blue and white porcelain dish from a set of ten. In one version it is the lady of the house who breaks the dish but accuses Okiku of the deed and throws her in a well as punishment. In another version Okiku has rejected the advances of one of the lord of the house (in some versions he is a daimyo, in others, he is a hatamoto- or 'bannerman' of the shogun), who tries to force her into submission by hiding one of the plates. Instead of giving-in, Okiko throws herself into the well in despair. In either case, she haunts the well, counting over and over again up until nine, and then wails at the missing tenth dish.
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 489, no. 509.17
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's Thirty-Six Ghosts, 1983, p. 52, no. 17
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 142, no. 65.17
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's Strange Tales, 2005, pp. 116-117, no. 17
Amy Reigle Newland & Chris Uhlenbeck, Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Fries Collection, 2011, p. 149, no. 116
Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: 120th Memorial Retrospective, 2012, p. 149, no. 224
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment.
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit.
site last updated
December 6, 2018
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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