Home‎ > ‎Artists‎ > ‎Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)‎ > ‎

Sakaki, No. 10, from the series The Fifty-four Chapters [of the Tale of Genji] in Modern Times

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Sakaki, No. 10,

from the series The Fifty-four Chapters

[of the Tale of Genji] in Modern Times

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1884

IHL Cat.#700

About This Print

One of likely 54 prints in the series The Fifty-four Chapters [of the Tale of Genji] in Modern Times by Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900).  Here we see Genji courting one of his lovers in front of an evergreen tree on which Genji has tied love notes.

Summary of Chapter 10, Sakaki, from The Tale of Genji

Source: The Tale of Genji: A Reader's Guide, William J. Puette, Tuttle Classics, 2004, p. 86, 87
10. Sakaki
The Sacred Tree
(9th month of Genji’s 23rd year to summer of his 25th year)
Lady Rokujo, somewhat distracted by jealousy and anxiety over Genji, decides to join her daughter as a Shinto priestess at Ise.  Genji, of course, tries to talk her out of it, but with the death of his father (the emperor)power shifts to Lady Kokiden and the Minister of the Right.  Genji’s power and influence decline, and he seems to mature.  He tries to rekindle his affair with Fujitsubo, but she, fearing for her son’s position as crown prince, also forsakes Genji and the world to become a Buddhist nun.  The chapter takes its name from the branches of the tree on which Genji ties love notes for Rokujo and Fuktusubo.

Genji tries to forget his sorrow by renewing acquaintances with Pricess Asagao (also an illicit relationship) and Murasaki.  At the end of the chapter he is recklessly pursuing his old flame Oborozukiyo, (currently the young emperor’s consort) when he is caught in the act by the Minister of the Right, her father.  He sister, Kokiden, and he are now bent on Genji’s debacle.


The Series: The Fifty-four Chapters [of the Tale of Genji] in Modern Times

Source: Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, p. 20.
"‘Genji Mania’ may have long peaked before Kunichika’s Fifty-four modern feelings but his decision to publish the series may have been motivated as much by the publisher’s demand as by the fact that his teacher Kunisada [Utagawa Kunisada I (1786–1865) had produced the original Rustic Genji illustrations.  The title of Kunichika’s series is also a word play: the characters that can be read ‘Genji’, as in the novel, literally translate as ‘contemporary times’ (genji)."

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #700
 Title (Description)  Sakaki, No. 10  第十号 榊
 Series  The Fifty-four Chapters [of the Tale of Genji] in Modern Times
 Genji gojûyo jô 現時五十四情 (also seen translated as Fifty-four Modern Feelings Matched with the Chapters of the Tale of Genji)
 Artists  Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
 Signatures  Toyohara Kunichika hitsu
 Seals  red Toshidama seal beneath Kunichika signature
 Publication Date
 1884 (Meiji 17) 御届明治十七年 月 日
 Publisher
 Takegawa Seikichi (武川清吉)
[Marks: publisher ref. 459 - Sawamuraya Seikichi  family name Takegawa Seikichi (sealed as Takegawa Seikichi from 1876)]
 Carver
 Hori Gin 彫銀
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good - margins partially trimmed; unbacked; minor soiling
 Genre  ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous
 Format  vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 14 x 9 3/8 in. (35.6 x 23.8 cm)
 H x W Image
 13 1/2 x 9 (34.3 x 22.9 cm)
 Literature

 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.16140
Comments