Details — Click to read
signed oju Yoshitoshi ga, artist’s seal Taiso, publisher’s date seal Meiji jusannen, juichigatsu, nijushika (Meiji 13 , November 24) of Nakamura Mitsu
oban tate-e 14 by 9 5/8 in., 35.6 by 24.5 cm
The descriptive cartouche reads:
Kurokami no nagaku taretaru wa
Midori no iro nasu Yanagi-cho
Sono onsen no tomeoke ni
Arai-komachi no sama misete
Nami no uneune oi shigeru
Kuronushi ga kao no
Akaku mo naraba
Shiroki hadae wa Gakuyo-doga
Uru araiko no kikime ni yoru
Sugai no kaette adeyaka naru wa
Kandagawa no nagare nite kiyoku
Yakusoku no kamiyui no konu wa
Fushimi no watashi o matsu yori nagashi
Do shita mono da domachi-ju
Kamiyui-san wa orimasenu ka to
Hashiri-zukai o suru ofukuro ga
Hiru no kashigi o kaneru mo sewashiki
-Tentendo shujin rokki
As she washes her hair
in the basin of the town hot spring,
with her loosened black locks
hanging down like the branches
of the willows in Yanagi-cho,
she looks like Komachi
washing her manuscript,
darkly undulating with the waves.
Her white skin has none
of the red of Kuronushi’s face,
thanks to the efficacy
of the skin-cleansing powder
sold by Gakuyudo.
Even without make-up, her skin
is more pure and inviting
than the waters of the Kanda river.
The wait for the hairdresser
who was supposed to come, but didn’t,
is longer than the wait
for the ferry at Fujimi.
‘What is this?’ she asks.
‘Isn’t there a hairdresser
in this whole town?’
How busy her mother
who has to run and find one
and prepare lunch at the same time.
-by the Proprietor of Tentendo
This series presented an hour by hour account of vingnettes from the everyday lives of women of a variety of ages and positions working in the chic geisha neighborhoods of Shinbashi and Yanagibashi in Tokyo. Published in 1880-1881 by Morimoto Junzaburo and Nakamura Mitsu, the illustrations were paired with gesaku-style prose full of slang, puns and metaphors written by the journalist Takabatake Ransen (1838-1885, signing as Tentendo) with his own calligraphy. Sometimes he would take the voice of the geisha, at other times his insights are presented from the perspective of an observer.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five – Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 62
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 440, no. 427.10
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 125, no. 39.10
Akita Museum of Modern Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: The Last Ukiyo-e Artist of Genius, 1999, no. 168
Amy Reigle Newland ( ed.), A Courtesan’s Day: Hour by Hour, 2004, pp. 86-87, no. 10
Harue M. Summersgill, ‘A Contemporary Chronicle,’ in A Courtesan’s Day: Hour by Hour, 2004, pp.60-63
Andreas Marks, Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Compendium, 2011, p. 251