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Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

A Glimpse of the Moon: Kahoyo

Series: 100 Views of the Moon
Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: 1886
Size (H x W): 14.5 x 9.5 (inches)
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Seals: Taiso
Signature: Yoshitoshi
Condition: Very fine color and impression, light original album backing, embellished with embossing.



As told in the 14th century history Taiheiki, Lady Kahoyo’s stunning beauty made her famous throughout the Shogun’s court. Lord Ko no Moronao was enchanted by the mere thought of her and decided to witness her beauty first-hand. He arranged to secretly view Lady Kahoyo as she left her bath. Obsessed with what he had seen, he accused her husband, En’ya Takasada, of treason to try and take Kahoyo for his own. Takasada and his family were killed as they tried to flee. In this work, Kahoyo steps into the dim light of the crescent moon, unaware of the voyeur beyond the fence. Moronao peeks over his fan, aroused by the private scene. 

About the artist

The son of a Tokyo physician, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (né Kinzaburo Yoshioka) is considered one of the last great masters of ukiyo-e. As a young boy he showed remarkable talent and began to study under the renowned Kuniyoshi at the age of 12. Yoshitoshi also studied under Yosai and was adopted by the Tsukioka family.


As modernization pushed ahead, Yoshitoshi suffered a nervous breakdown in 1872, living in poverty and ceasing all artistic production. A year later, he resumed working; adopting the artist name Taiso and fulfilling his creative potential. In 1885, he began one of his most acclaimed series, 100 Views of the Moon. In the spring of 1892, he suffered his final mental breakdown and was committed to the Sugamo Asylum. On the 9th of June 1892, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 53.


Yoshitoshi’s prints are known for their eerie and imaginative nature. He worked in a Japan undergoing rapid change, straddling the domains of the old, feudal systems and the new, modern world. His considerable imagination and originality imbued his woodblock prints with a sensitivity and honesty rarely seen in ukiyo-e of this time period. From ghost stories to folktales, graphic violence to the gentle glow of the moon, Yoshitoshi not only offers compositional and technical brilliance, but also unfettered passion.