Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Rainy Moon: Kojima Takanori

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Rainy Moon: Kojima Takanori
100 Views of the Moon
Woodblock Print
14.5" x 9.5"
Very fine color and impression, very light stain on cartouch, light original album backing, embellished with embossing, black lacquer and metallic pigments.


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Akiyama Buemon

About the art

Kojima Takanori was a 14th century nobleman who assisted Emperor Go-Daigo in his revolt against the ruling Hojo family. Their first attempt failed and Go-Daigo was exiled. Takanori tried to intercept the emperor, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Determined, he disguised himself as a peasant with a straw raincoat and hat and went to the inn where Go-Daigo was spending the night. He could not see the emperor, but he did get into the back garden. There he peeled some of the bark off of a cherry tree and wrote an encouraging message in the form of a Chinese poem. The next morning, the emperor saw the poem and drew strength from this message of encouragement. Yoshitoshi depicts the loyal soldier beneath the budding cherry tree, praying for the emperor in the falling rain. 

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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