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Artist: Utagawa Yoshiiku (歌川芳幾)

Print: The second from the series Comical Record of Japanese History [Kokkei Wanisshi-ki (滑稽倭日史記 )] (sometimes translated Humorous Japanese History).

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Dates: created,July 1895
Dimensions: 10.5 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodlblock print
Inscription: Signed: Sharakusai Yoshiiku
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon (Kokkei-do)

Related links: Lavenberg Collection; Spencer Museum;

Physical description:

The top inset of this print depicts three strange women, three monsters and a red fish inscribed as "Bay". The bottom inset depicts Chinese in various caricature, a Japanese soldier as the Thunder God, a Japanese soldier dressed in kimono, and a Japanese naval officer being entreated by Chinese depicted as rats (see the print Rats in a Bag by Kiyochika for another use of this caricature).


entire series of nine arranged as a scroll

The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (Source: Field Museum website via Lavenberg Collection)

The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons is a theme that has captivated the imagination of Japanese artists for centuries. Since the Heian period (794-1185 AD), and perhaps even earlier, Japanese painters have rendered scenes of demonic creatures romping and cavorting at night. Japanese story tellers say that one night each summer all sorts of terrifying beings make their way to the mountains to enjoy themselves with games and amusements.

The publication by Toriyama Sekien of a book on Hyakki Yako in 1776 signaled a new interest in the fantastic theme of Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, which was to last throughout the Edo and Meiji periods. Late in the nineteenth century, the printmaker Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904) produced several imaginative illustrations based on the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons. One of these was his Kokkei Wanisshi-ki (Comical Record of Japanese History), which employs the theme of 100 demons to comment on contemporary Japanese military actions in China.

Despite the variety of designs created by nineteenth-century printmakers, the original handscrolll format of the "hyakki yako" was not abandoned, but rather put to new use. Yoshiiku made this set of nine prints to commemorate Japan's 1894 vistory in the war with China. Each of the prints is divided into two sections: the upper portion depicts a handscroll entitled "A Newly Devised Hyakki yako," while the lower part shows light-hearted cartoons of Japanese soldiers defeating their Chinese counterparts. (From Spencer Museum of Art)

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There are other copies of this print in the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas and at the St. Louis Museum of Art.