Yoshitoshi's 'Sketches by Yoshitoshi (Yoshitoshi Ryakuga)' (1882)


This page attempts to catalog all known prints in Yoshitoshi's series 'Yoshitoshi ryakuga (芳年 略画 - Sketches by Yoshitoshi)'.

The series dates from toward the end of Yoshitoshi's career, when he was about 43 years old. It thus dates from only a few years before his well-known masterpieces such as his great series "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon" (1885-1892), and "New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts" (often called simply "Thirty-Six Ghosts") (1889-1892).

For the subjects of this series, Yoshitoshi drew on Japanese folklore, history, and the Kabuki theatre; most were then presented in a comic style, often with an amusing twist, in the lightly ironic style known as mitate.

The prints were issued in pairs, two on each ōban sheet; they are listed below in their pairs, as published (i.e. 1 and 2 were paired on a single sheet, as were 3 and 4, etc.)

The series was popular, and several re-issues are known, although no detail has yet been worked out as to which was the earliest. One difference that can be pointed out is that the series title, printed in a cartouche on the top print of each pair, is missing in some impressions.

Technical details

Previous cataloguings

Listed in Keyes' thesis: One of the first attempts to enumerate this series was in Keyes' thesis: The only known attempts to enumerate this series was in Keyes' thesis:
	Roger. S. Keyes, "Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and
		Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 1839-1892",
		Cinncinnati, 1982
where it appears as series #446 (pg. 448); he listed 40 prints in the series. The next listing was in:
	Eric van den Ing, Robert Schaap, "Beauty and Violence: Japanese
		Prints by Yoshitoshi 1839-1892",
		Havilland, Eindhoven, 1992
where it appears as series #42 (pg. 127).

Keyes listed 40 prints in this series. We use the Keyes numbers to order the prints below; the prints in the series do not appear to have any numbers on them.

This page (and list) is not necessarily complete; the series is not well documented, and there may be yet other prints which have not yet come to our attention. If you know of any prints from this series which aren't listed here, or have either i) information about any errors on the page, ii) better images than the ones below, or iii) missing information about individual prints, please let us know.

The Prints

To see a larger, roughly full-screen, image of any print, please click on the thumbnail; these images are sized to produce reasonable detail (if we have an original that big), and are fairly compressed.

Note: This page is not yet complete; the kanji for the titles have been drawn from various sources, and have not yet been fully checked against the prints; the rōmaji, along with various other information (such as signtures and seals) are not yet given; and other information (dates, publisher, etc) have also not been checked. The page is being placed up in this state as it is felt that it will be useful, even in this incompelte form.

Thumbnail Number Title (Kanji) Title (Rōmaji) Title (English) Description
#1 開化 之 達摩 Kaika no Daruma Daruma of enlightenment
#2 五條橋 Gojō-bashi Gojō Bridge Gojō Bridge is the location of the famous confrontation between Ushiwakamaru (shown here) and Benkei.

"Gojō" is now normally written with the second kanji .

#3 金太郎 獲 鯉魚 Kintarō e koi-gyo Kintarō seizes the carp
#4 宇治之戦 The Battle at Uji Bridge
#5 応挙 の 幽霊 Ghost Painting Coming to Life in the Studio of Painter Ōkyo
#6 雪舟活画 Sesshū Drawing Rats, Which Come to Life
#7 頼政 Yorimasa Awaiting the Nue
#8 天狗 之 世界 Tengu Messengers Colliding in Mid-Air
#9 仁和寺 影踊 The Dancing Pot at Ninna-ji Temple
#10 鍾馗 之 夜這 Shōki Creeping Up on a Sleeping Demon
#11 曽我時致裸馬乗而大磯駆 Soga Gorō Riding on Horseback to Ōiso
#12 真如月 Benkei at the Ataka Barrier
#13 三保 の 羽衣 xx no xx Angel with the Heavenly Cloak at Mio
#14 李白 酔眠 Ri Haku xx The Poet Li Po in a Drunken Sleep
#15 悟空吹毛 Songokū Creating an Army from His Fur
#16 尉与姥 Jō and Uba at Takasago
#17 曽呂理太閤之面を嚊 Sorori Shinzaemon and Hideyoshi
#18 漢子以布袋腹擬吃飴 Children Blowing up Hotei's Belly and Painting It Like Candy
#19 桃太郎 鬼ケ島行 Momotarō Goes to Devil's Island
#20 丹前姿 (不破 伴左エ門) Fuwa Banzaemon in a Tanzen Costume
#21 志渡 の 浦玉取蜑 An Octopus Seizes a Pearl Diver at Shido Bay
#22 雷公引水 The Thunder God Bathing
#23 日進佐渡流刑 Nichiren in Exile at Sado
#24 地獄太夫 The Courtesan Jigokudayū Sees Herself as a Skeleton in the Mirror of Hell
#25 神功后皇釣猫 Empress Jingū Fishing for a Cat
#26 本田善光難波池ニ如来ヲ感得ス Honda Yoshimitsu Discovers the Buddha
#27 蝙蝠之五段目 Bats in the Fifth Act of Chūshingura
#28 鐘之世界 Benkei and Others Around a Bell
#29 祇園社頭油法師驚忠盛 Tadamori and the Oil Thief
#30 業平朝臣負二条后落引図 Prince Narihira and Nijō no Tsubone at the Fuji River
#31 頼光宝之山人 Raikō Enters the Treasure Mountain
#32 子英乗鯉飛行図 Shiei Riding the Carp over the Sea
#33 小野道風見蛙図 Ono no Tōfū Watching a Frog
#34 猫活男婦者 Catching Kittens with Bonito
#35 随筆 - 豪傑
Kumonryū Shishin, a Hero of the Suikoden
#36 温公即智破水瓶 Onkō Breaks the Pot and Saves the Child
#37 於哥女松茸影盗見漫笑之図 Okame Laughing at the Shadow of a Mushroom
#38 (七福神) Fukurokuju Writing with His Head
#39 子 の 日小松 Pulling Pine Shoots on the Day of the Rat
#40 帰国 浦島 Urashima Returning on the Turtle


Thanks to Fuji Arts, who sold a complete set of this series, from which the images here are drawn.

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Last updated: 4/April/2015