Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: Onoe Kikugorō III (尾上菊五郎) as the ghost of Yasukata
(Yasukata no bōrei - 安方ノ亡霊) from the series
Comparisons for Thirty-six Selected Poems
(Mitate sanjūrokkasen no uchi - 見立三十六歌撰之内)

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Dates: 1852,created
Dimensions: 10.0 in,14.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Iseya Kanekichi (Marks 145 seal 21-059)
Carver: Yokogawa hori Take
Censors' seals: Mera and Watanabe
Date seal: 10/1852

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; British Museum; Waseda University; National Diet Library; Ritsumeikan University ; National Gallery of Victoria; Hankyu Culture Foundation;

Physical description:

In the 10th century Taira Masakado led a revolt against the government, but he and his warriors were defeated and killed. "After the death of Masakado his retainers, one being the father of Utō Yasukata, were forced to commit suicide. Yasukata swore to avenge his father's death and that of Masakado, and he promised Masakado's children to restore their family's lost fortunes. His ghost is said to haunt the surroundings of Masakado's castle 'Sōma no Furugosho' at Sashima, usually, as in this print, during turbulent weather.

Blood runs from Yasukata's shoulders, while a small flame appears at left. The body seems to be somewhat translucent and intangible, created by an excellent use of colours, shading off into one another in the lower half of the print. In the background a storm carries leaves across the sky, while grasses and the dark shape of a tree bend to the right, against the axis of the ghost's head."

Quoted from: What About Kunisada? by Jan van Doesburg, p. 104.

From the series 'Mitate Sanjurokkaisen no uchi' noted for its high quality printing. Early 1st edition with extra color blocks and superb bokashi shading.


The poem in the upper right is by Nakatsukasa (中務) and reads:

Akikaze no
fuku ni tsurete mo
towanu ka na
hagi no ha naraba
oto wa shite maji



Illustrated in a quarter-page, black and white reproduction in The Art of Japanese Prints by Richard Illing, 1980, p. 124.