Epitomizing the fantastic quality that has come to define Kuniyoshi’s work, this print is perhaps his best-known design. Following Taira no Masakado’s failed attempt to seize control of Kyoto, his daughter Takiyasha remained in the dilapidated Soma Palace in Shimosa province, Chiba. Alone among the ruins, she became an accomplished sorceress. When the hero Mitsukuni is sent to destroy Takiyasha, it is he that meets his end. In Kuniyoshi’s interpretation of this tale, Takiyasha stands beneath the broken lattice, summoning the massive skeleton specter from the darkness. Leaning over two sheets, the specter curls its claw-like fingers around the blinds, lowering its hollow face towards the ill-fated intruders. It is possible that Kuniyoshi drew inspiration for this strikingly large skeleton from anatomical models in Dutch drawing manuals.
Other impressions of this print can be found in the British Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Honolulu Museum of Art, and Waseda University Theatre Museum.