Takane Kōji (高根宏治) (artist 1902 – 1979)

Lesser cuckoo (Hototogisu - 杜鵑)


10.5 in x 15.5 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese color woodblock print

Signed in print: Kōji (宏治)
Signed in left margin: Takane Kōji hitsu
Publisher: Daireisha (Marks U034)
Honolulu Museum of Art

Half-length portrait of a bijin against a paper lantern adjusting her hair-pin and hearing the distant call of a Cuckoo.

The carver was Maeda Kentarō. The printer was Ono Hikatarō.


The Lesser Cuckoo (Cuculus poliocephalus) is called hototogisu. It was frequently praised for its songs and poems. Sei Shonagon wrote about it in her account of court life in Heian Japan, the Pillow Book. It is also a pivotal image in poem 81 of the Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology.

"...the cultural significance of the cuckoo in relation to the arrival of summer in Britain is just as significant as the role of the hotogisu in Japan, and just as alive today."

Quoted from the review by Richard Bowring of Haruo Shirhane's book Japan and the Culture of the Seasons... in the Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 39, #2, p. 428.
beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)
Daireisha (大鈴舎) (publisher)
modern prints (shin hanga - 新版画) (genre)