Though Kuniyoshi’s sensational Earth Spider triptych faced government censorship in 1843, the popularity of the design sparked numerous pirated copies. The original publisher feared government crackdown and pulled all blocks and prints from production and sale, but Kuniyoshi and his students secretly circulated paintings of the design. This is one of those rare banned ink and color paintings. The fact of its existence speaks to the resonance of this design with national sentiment at this time. In an era of famine, striking class stratification, and unjust government edicts, this design allowed its viewers to vent their frustrations, to identify the demons of the day with the monsters of Kuniyoshi’s vivid imagination.