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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (aka Yoshitoshi), Japanese, (1839–1892)
Kato Ishidomaru Visiting his Father Kato Saemon Shigeuji, 1881
Ink on Paper
13 1/8 in. x 8 7/8 in. (333.38 mm x 225.43 mm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Ballard
Accession Number: 93.6.23


Full Title: Twenty-four Accomplishments in Imperial Japan: Kato Ishidomaru Visiting his Father Kato Saemon Shigeuji, who had become a Priest

Commentary
Back to back print with 93.6.22. No. 10.

Marks
Japanese text printed in the upper part of the image. Title on mat, in pencil. Seal: Taiso. Text: Tentendo Shujin. Signed: Taiso Yoshitoshi ga.

Medium
Colored ink woodblock on paper.

Object Description
Back to back print. Meiji period Japanese color woodblock print with an image of a young boy and a priest in robes.

The story of Kato Saemon Shigeuji, a wealthy lord in Kyushu during the Ahikaga period, was the subject of ballads, puppet plays, and Noh dramas. Returning home one night he saw his wife and a companion playing go, a Japanese game similar to checkers. While they appeared quite friendly, their long hair was writhing like snakes, hissing and biting at each other. This sight so saddened him that he left his home the next morning and became a priest at Mount Koya, taking the name of Karukaya. His wife searched for him for many years and finally reached the temple where he lived. Since women could not enter the temple precincts, she sent Ishidomaru, her son, to make inquiries. He met his father unwittingly, but Karukaya refused to recognize his son, even when the boy recognized a mole over his father's eye which his mother said would identify him. Yoshitoshi touchingly conveys the pathos of this scene as a boy clutches his father's hand and the father turns away with a gesture of resignation.

“The Twenty-four Accomplishments was begun in May 1881 and completed in 1887. Some of the prints first published in 1881 were reissued with different colors when the entire group was published as a set. The entire set was republished by Matsuki Heikichi between 1893 and 1895, after Yoshitoshi's death, with altered signatures and completely different, paler colors, sometimes with keyblock changes. This print and the next (cat. no. 17) are fine, fresh impressions of the earliest edition. The texts on the prints are Ryutei Tanehiko II, using the signature 'Tentendojin.' His words are poetic and allusive, and they covey a verbal equivalent of the mood of Yoshitoshi's picture. The circumstances of the publication are unkown: it is not clear whether Tanehiko wrote for Yoshitoshi's picture, or if Yoshitoshi illustrated Tanehiko's text.
(Ref. Keyes, Roger, and George Kuwayama, "The Bizarre Imagery of Yoshitoshi: The Herbert R. Cole Collection," p. 45)

Publisher
Tsuda Genshichi.

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