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Kyōsai hyakuzu, Akuji senri wo hashiru


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Akuji senri wo hashiru

from the series Kyōsai Hyakuzu

by Kawanabe Kyōsai, c. 1863-1866

IHL Cat. #453

About this Print and the Series Kyōsai Hyakuzu

The Series
Source: Comic Genius: Kawanabe Kyôsai, Oikawa Shigeru, Clark Timothy and Forrer Matthi, Tokyo Shinbun, 1996, p. 206.
This print was issued as part of the series the Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyosai) which consists of more than 200 pictorializations of proverbs and depictions of famous subjects unrelated to proverbs. The prints were published continuously from 1863 to 1866* by the publisher Wakasaya and the works were later reprinted in album form by the publisher Okura Magobei (Okuraya) in 1881 and 1886.  The prints in this collection are likely from one of Okura Magobei's reprint editions, as they show evidence of having been removed from an album.

One hundred of the proverbs depicted in Kyōsai hyakuzu were translated into French in 1885 under the title Cent Proverbes Japonais by Francis Steenackers and Ueda Tokunosuke.

This print series was very popular, enhancing Kyosai's reputation and making a large profit for the publishers.

*1863-1866 are the most common publication dates provided for these prints, though the literature cites dates as early as 1862 for the first publication date and reprints of this series are still being made.  The prints were first issued by publisher Wakasaya Yoichi (aka Jakurindo Yoichi) as single-sheet prints, sold in ten print packages in a decorative envelope.  Okura Magobei re-published the prints in bound book/album form in the 1880s. 

The Print
This print illustrates the proverb akuji senri wo hashiru 悪事千里を走る - "bad news travels quickly" or "bad news has wings." (Lit.: bad new runs one thousand "ri" [about 2.44 miles], a traditional measure of distance in Japan.)

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description  Akuji senri o hashiru
 Artist  Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
 Series Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyosai)
 Signature  Kyōsai go
 Seal  None
 Publication Date  c. 1880s (originall c. 1863-1866)
 Publisher  Okura Magobei
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 excellent - original album backing
 Genre  ukiyo-e; giga (comic print)
 Format  koban [Vertical yotsugiri (quarter ôban)]
 H x W Paper
 7 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (18.4 x 12.1 cm)
 Reference Literature