Murasaki Shikibu wrote the famed Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) at the beginning of the 11th century. The drama follows the romantic adventures of the irresistibly attractive Prince Genji. In this spirit, Yoshitoshi portrays the most mysterious of Genji’s lovers. The story tells that Genji fell in love with her at the sight of her handwriting. Persist as he might, the beauty would not reveal her true identity, so he called her Yugao (evening glory), after the morning glory-like flowers that grew around her dilapidated house. One night, she agreed to accompany Genji to one of his lavish villas. After they consummated their love, Yugao died very suddenly, killed by a jealous spirit of a former mistress. Yoshitoshi portrays her as a wistful ghost, delicate and pale as the flower of her namesake. This work brings together two popular themes in ukiyo-e: the Tale of Genji and yokai (ghosts and strange apparitions).
Other impressions of this print can be found in the British Museum, and Waseda University Theatre Museum.