Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Shujaku Gate Moon: Hakuga Sanmi

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


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Akiyama Buemon
Yoshitoshi no In

About the art

The 10th century noble, Semimaru, a blind flutist recognized as a musical luminary of the period, played a beautiful tune on the flute that no one could imitate. He regretted that he had no student to whom he could transmit his secret techniques. Hearing this lament, the courtier Hakuga Sammi, also known as Minamoto no Hiromasa, begged Semimaru to take him as a pupil. Semimaru agreed, and Hiromasa learned to play as well as his teacher. Yoshitoshi presents the two musicians playing their sweet melody in the moonlight at the Shujaku Gate, also known as Suzaku Gate. 

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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