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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Moon of Pure Snow at Asano River

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: no. 10, Moon of Pure Snow at Asano River, Chikako, the Filial Daughter
(Tsuki hyakushi: Asanogawa seisetsu no tsuki - Kojo Chikako)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Yoshitoshi, carved by Enkatsu, and publisher's date and address seal Meiji juhachinen, junigatsu, -ka; Nihonbashi-ku Muromachi Sanchome 9-banchi, insatsu ken hakkosha Akiyama Buemon (Meiji 18 [1885], December) of Akiyama Buemon of Kokkeido

oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm

An ambitious and wealthy merchant, Zeniya Gohei (1798-1855), began in 1851 to fill in Kahoku Lake for the development of rice paddies. The following year, many dead fish appeared by the construction site, followed by reports of local residents who had died after eating the fish. The issue became a flash point, as aggrieved fishermen, envious rival merchants, and general local hysteria prompted the arrest of Gohei and sixty-six others involved in the project. In a futile gesture of filial piety, Gohei's daughter Chikako is said to have drowned herself in the freezing Asano River. It came to naught, however: her father would succumb to 'urinary blockage' and die incarcerated; her siblings were beheaded; and her family was stripped of all its wealth.

Exhibited:
Madame Butterfly's World: Woodblock Prints of a Changing Japan, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, June 21 - September 21, 2014

References:
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 460, no. 478.10
Shinichi Segi, Yoshitoshi the Splendid Decadent, 1985, p. 60, no. 26
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 133, no. 54.10
Akita Museum of Modern Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: The Last Ukiyo-e Artist of Genius, 1999, p. 30, no. 88
Shimoda Hiraku, 'Bad Sushi or Bad Merchant?,' in Modern Asian Studies, vol. 35, no. 3, 2001, pp. 513-531
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's 100 Aspects of the Moon, 2001, no. 10
Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Yoshitoshi: 32 Aspects of Women and 100 Aspects of the Moon, 2009, p. 21, no. 2.10

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