Murasaki Shikibu wrote the famed Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) at beginning of the 11th century. The drama follows the romantic adventures of the irresistibly handsome Prince Genji. In this print, Yoshitoshi portrays the most mysterious of Genji’s lovers. The story tells that Genji fell in love with her at the sight of her handwriting. Persist as he might, the beauty would not reveal her true identity, so he called her Yugao (evening face), after the morning-glory-like flowers that grew around her dilapidated house. One night, she agreed to accompany Genji to one of his lavish villas. After they consummated their love, Yugao died very suddenly, killed by a jealous spirit of a former mistress. Yoshitoshi portrays her as a wistful ghost, delicate and pale as the flower of her namesake. This is an early state of this most highly desirable print with embossing on the flower petals, yellow centers to flowers and blue on the eyes and lips.
Other impressions of the print are in the:British Museum, Tokyo Metro Library, Waseda University Theatre Museum, Edo Tokyo Museum.