Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Mountain Moon After Rain: Tokimune

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Mountain Moon After Rain: Tokimune
100 Views of the Moon
Woodblock Print
14.5" x 9.5"
Very fine color and impression, light original album backing, embellished with black lacquer and embossing, woodgrain visible.


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Akiyama Buemon
Yoshitoshi no In

About the art

The Soga brothers, Juro Sukenari and Goro Tokimune, grew up obsessed with the thought of avenging their father, who had been killed by Kudo Suketsune when they were children. Their great opportunity came when Suketsune joined a hunting party in the vicinity of Mt. Fuji held by the shogun Yoritomo. The brothers broke into Suketsune’s camp on a stormy night and killed him. The villain’s retainers promptly killed Sukenari, while the young Tokimune was later executed on the orders of Yoritomo. This 12th century tale inspired over 20 plays and became a staple of Japanese literature. In the darkness of the crescent moon, Tokimune gazes towards a cuckoo, a symbol of life’s transience. 

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 art. 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 component. 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 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.

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