Inochi o kakete omou from the series Reflections of Good and Evil for a Healthy Life

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Inochi o kakete omou from the series

Reflections of Good and Evil for a Healthy Life

by Utagawa Fusatane, 1873

Report: The Whole Nation Living in Perfect Contentment (Empress, Empress Dowager and Court Ladies in Waiting Sewing Pledgets)

IHL Cat. #286

About This Print

This scene depicts a woman jumping off the terrace of Kiyomizu-dera while grasping the Japanese character for life, inochi.  She has jumped due to disappointment and despair over an unhappy love affair.  Perhaps she has wished for a happier conclusion to her love life before jumping as there was an Edo period tradition holding that if one were to survive jumping from the terrace of Kiyomizu Temple, one's wish would be granted. 

234 jumps were recorded in the Edo period and of those, 85.4% survived.1  The expression "to jump off the porch at Kiyomizu" is the Japanese equivalent of the English expression "to take the plunge."

Kiyomizudera (清水寺; also spelled Kiyomizu-dera; "Pure Water Temple") was founded in 780 AD and still functions as a temple associated with the Hosso sect of Japanese Buddhism.2

1 Sacred Destinations website http://www.sacred-destinations.com/japan/kyoto-kiyomizudera
2 Ibid.

About The Series

A comic series consisting of twenty chuban size prints, printed two-up on ten oban size sheets. Each print features the character 命 inochi (life) and presents the viewer with recommendations on how to live a healthy, happy and long life. The top-most print on the sheet bears the series number in its upper margin and the bottom sheet contains the artist's signature and seal, the publisher's seal and the date seal. As in this collection's print, most of the extant prints have been separated from their companion print. 

Inochi o kakete omou 命をかけておもふ
Inochi to omou awase shichiya e yuku 命と思ふ袷しちやへ行

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #286
 Title or Description  Inochi o kakete omou 命をかけておもふ
 Series  Reflections on Good and Evil for a Healthy Life
 命の養生善悪鏡 Inochi no yōjō zen aku kagami
 Artist  Utagawa Fusatane (active 1854-1888)
 Signature  unsigned (bottom print of the uncut oban sheet signed Ōsai Fusatane hitsu)
 Seal
 Publication Date  1873
 Publisher  辻亀板 Tsujiokaya Kamekichi [Marks: pub. ref. 549]
 publisher's seal appears on bottom print of uncut sheet
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition good - light overall toning; minor soiling
 Genre  ukiyo-e (giga)
 Miscellaneous  Marked with 三 (3)  in upper  margin
 Format  chuban
 H x W Paper
 7 1/4 x 9 3/8 in. (18.4 x 23.8 cm)
 H x W Image 6 1/2 x 8 3/4 in. (16.5 x 22.2 cm)
 Literature
 Tsukioka Yoshitoshi's Series Kyōkun zen’aku zukai, Kiyoko Andrea Metzler, University of Vienna, 2017, p. 105-106, 156.
 Collections This Print
 
last revision:
3/24/2020
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