Yoshiiku: Three-Eyed Monster Demon from Tokyo Nichi-Nichi Shimbun

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Artist: Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Title: Tokyo Nichi-nichi Newspaper,  445th Issue (Tokyo Nichi-nichi Shimbun東京日々新聞 四百四十五)

Date: 1874

The scene Is one of turmoil.  A screen with a moon painting which must be the sleeping area for Toyotarô has been thrown on its side. The man springs up and subdues the creature at bottom. At the top is a hideous three-eyed ghost, bald and grey and looking quite scary indeed. The text is by  Tenten-dô Don-don 転々堂鈍々誌 and may be translated as follows:

“On 4th August 1873 at around 3 pm Umemura Toyotarô, who lives in Motoyanagibara-cho, wanted to go back to sleep after he was awakened by an earthquake. Surprised by screaming voice of a boy, who was playing near him he quickly awoke. As he looked up, the head of a three-eye monster was growing fast into the ceiling. Toyotarô, a brave man sprang up and pulled at the hem of the monster, which was thusly defeated. They found out that it was tanuki, racoon dog, as seen below.” Yoshiiku’s compositions  were dramatic and eye-catching, especially for scenes of murder and monster mysteries. Although the creature at bottom appears to be a fox, according to the text it is a mysterious tanuki. 

The publisher Gusoku-ya of Ningyo-cho, Edo caught the moment of popularity to make nishiki-e print for entertainment as Nihiki-e Shimbun, starting in July 1874.

It is said that angels, seen holding up the title banner on this print, were used as a symbol of modernizing civilization of the time. (*Nishiki-e Shimbun of Modernizing Civilization: Chiba City Art Museum of Chiba, 2008). The text was written by six editors, capturing interesting happenings into a picture. We can see how the artist was influenced by western newspapers; perhaps the Illustrated London News.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Untrimmed and unbacked. Some stains near top in background.
Dimensions: ôban 36.5 x 24.2 cm
Signed: Ikkeisai Yoshiiku ga