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signed Kochoro Toyokuni ga with red Toshidama seal, censor’s seal Yoshimura, followed by the publisher’s seal Sanoki (Sanoya Kihei of Kikaudo), ca. 1845
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 10 in., 36.1 by 25.4 cm
After issuing the 37th design in this series (except no. 47) of 100 poet prints, Kunisada changed the framework of the compositions by eliminating the series title and replacing the poem cards with a cartouche in the shape of an open book illustrating the featured poet and poem. Capitalizing on his recent success as illustrator of the serialized novel by Ryutei Tanehiko, Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji (A Rustic Genji by a Fraudulent Murasaki) which was published from 1829-1842, Kunisada introduced Genji-related motifs to 42 subsequent prints this series and referenced his own designs from the covers of the updated Genji. The composition of this print references the cover of part II of volume 36.
The portrait is of the retired Emperor Sanjo-in and the poem is number 68 from the Hyakunin isshu.
Kokoro ni mo
arade uki yo ni
yoha no tsuki kana
Though it is not what’s in my heart,
if in this world of pain
I should linger, then
no doubt I shall remember fondly
the bright moon of this dark night!
Joshua S. Mostow, The Hundred Poets Compared, 2007, p. 170, no. 68 (poem translation)
Jeff Hopewell, Kunisada 100 Poets Prints Derived from Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji Images, Kunisada.de, 2008
Andreas Marks, Genji’s World in Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2021, pp. 14-15