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.
This print titled Ōtsue no tawamure depicts two sumo wrestlers with various observers, including a very red demon. The word otsue is a reference to small woodblock prints and sketches of popular religious subjects that were popular into the 1880s and the word tamamure can be translated as "joke" or "fun".
1 Ukiyoe Caricatures, University of Vienna http://kenkyuu.jpn.univie.ac.at/karikaturen/en/kunstler.htm
| IHL Catalog
|Title or Description|| Ōtsue no tawamure
|Artist|| Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
|Series||Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyosai)|
|Signature|| Motome ni ōjite Shōjō Kyōsai
|Publication Date||likely c. 1880s (originally c. 1863-1866)|
|Publisher|| Okura Magobei
|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