• The second from the series <i>Comical Record of Japanese History</i> (<i>Kokkei Wanisshi-ki</i> - 滑稽倭日史記 )
The second from the series <i>Comical Record of Japanese History</i> (<i>Kokkei Wanisshi-ki</i> - 滑稽倭日史記 )
The second from the series <i>Comical Record of Japanese History</i> (<i>Kokkei Wanisshi-ki</i> - 滑稽倭日史記 )
The second from the series <i>Comical Record of Japanese History</i> (<i>Kokkei Wanisshi-ki</i> - 滑稽倭日史記 )

Utagawa Yoshiiku (歌川芳幾) (artist mid 1830s - early 1900s)

The second from the series Comical Record of Japanese History (Kokkei Wanisshi-ki - 滑稽倭日史記 )

Print


07/1895
10.5 in x 15 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodlblock print

Signed: Sharakusai Yoshiiku (洒落斎芳幾)
Artist's seal: Sharaku
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon (秋山武右衛門)
Date: Meiji 28, 7th month (明治 廾八年 七月)


Lavenberg Collection
Spencer Museum
National Library of Australia Sarah Thompson in Undercurrents in the Floating World: Censorship and Japanese Prints wrote on page 91: "The Japanese soldiers of the Sino-Japanese War prints, in their elegant European-style uniforms, are rather unrealistically contrasted to grotesque pigtailed Chinese in gaudily colored costumes, who clearly represent the forces of backwardness. Little sympathy is shown for the plight of the enemy, except in a few instances illustrating the nobility of Japanese officers who display a patronizing compassion toward the Chinese."

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The Lavenberg Collection wrote:

"One of nine prints from the series Kokkei Nihon Shiki (Humorous Japanese History) (also seen as Kokkei Yamato Hi shiki) which commemorates a Japanese military victory against China in 1894 and is a parody of Hyakki Yakō (Night Parade of One Hundred Demons). The nine prints read as a scroll when placed next to each other... The top inset of this print, the eighth print in the scroll, depicts various yokai, three ghostly women, three monsters and a red fish, with an inscription reading "Bay". The bottom inset depicts Chinese in various caricatures, including pleading "rat ships", a Japanese soldier as the Thunder God, a Japanese soldier dressed in kimono, and a Japanese naval officer being entreated by the Chinese "rat ships."

The Ukiyo’e Caricatures 1842-1905 website1 of the Department of East Asian Studies - Japanese Studies, University of Vienna provides the following transcriptions of the kanji associated with each caricature in the bottom half of the print:

1. Tonbi horyo horyo
2. Genbu aitaka Sakuramaru
3. Riku wa kachi go-banzai
4. Pekin kaminari doji-oyaji
5. Hōtō ni mo fude no ayamari
6. Umi katte ji katamaru
7. Teijo jōbu ni mamorezu
8. Heijō chan nenbutsu
9. Atama kakushite shiri kakusazu

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The National Library of Australia wrote of this print: "The Japanese woodblock print is made of two sets of images; the bottom image is of a conflict against Korea in 1882, called Imo incident; the image of the top half is of the ghosts from Japanese folk tales."

"IMO MUTINY. Revolt by traditionalist Korean troops that broke out on 23 July 1882. It is usually called Imo Munity or Imo Incident because Imo is the designation for 1882 in the sexagenary cycle. Following the conclusion of the Treaty of Kanghwa with Japan in February 1876, which opened Korea's doors to the world, the peninsular kingdom was exposed to growing influences of Western imperial powers. Queen Min, who was in control of the Korean government, turned to Japan to promote the modernization of its troops, and Japanese military advisers arrived in in 1881; however, the modernization project was a source of discord among Korean soldiers. While newly organized troops were given benefits, traditionalist ones remained unpaid for more than a year, without sufficient food. The traditionalist troops staged a revolt on 23 July 1882, in which they killed prominent Korean government officials, attempted to assassinate Queen Min, and burned down the Japanese legation in Seoul.

While the rebellion was soon quelled by Chinese troops, Japan sent its troops to Korea and forced the Korean government to accept the Treaty of Chemulpo on 30 August 1882, in which Korea promised to pay an indemnity to Japan and allow it to station its troops in Seoul to protect its legation. Nevertheless, because China continued to deploy its troops in Korea even after the suppression of the revolt, the rebellion set the stage for a skirmish between Japan and China in Seoul in the Kapsin Political Coup two years later."

Quoted from: Historical Dictionary of Japanese Foreign Policy, p. 116.

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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).

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.

Marks gives the title transliteration as Kokkei Yamato shiki.

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Illustrated in black and white in Japanese Ghosts and Demons, edited by Stephen Addiss, fig. 4, p. 17, 1985.
Akiyama Buemon (秋山武右衛門) (publisher)
Yūrei-zu (幽霊図 - ghosts demons monsters and spirits) (genre)