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Demons and Dumplings

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Demons and Dumplings

by Utagawa Yoshiiku, 1875

Angry Sumo Fan Demands Refund

IHL Cat. #606

About This Print

At the top of this "news nishiki-e" is a banner held aloft by two cherubs containing the name of the sponsoring newspaper, the Tokyo nichinichi shinbun 東京日々新聞.  Relatives try to steal money from a widow by disguising themselves as demons and get their "just desserts".

For a summary of the brief life of nishiki-e shinbun (newspaper color woodblock prints) see the article Nishiki-e shinbun and Newspapers in Meiji Japan.

Story Summary by William Wetherall

Source: Nishiki-e Shinbun website of William Wetherall http://www.nishikie.com/stories/TNS-1045-2_demons_and_dumplings.html

An elderly couple known for their scrimpy ways had saved 500 yen by the time the old man died, leaving orders to bury the money with him. At the urging of relatives an empty purse was put in the casket. On the occasion of the 7th-day memorial the old lady received some bean jam dumplings from some relatives but forgot to eat them. That night two demons, one red and one green, claiming to be messengers of Enma (the god of death], ordered the old lady to give them the money, because the money was not put in the old man's casket and he would be going to hell. While the old lady was fetching the money the demons ate the bean jam dumplings, spit up blood, and died. On closer examination they turned out to be other relatives.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description  Demons and Dumplings (千四 No. 1045)
 Newspaper  Tokyo nichinichi shinbun 東京日々新聞
 Artist  Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Ikkeisai Yoshiiku ga 一恵斎芳幾画
 see above - artist's square seal reading Yoshiiku 芳幾
 Writer of Text
 Takabatake Ransen 高畠藍泉 (1838-1885)- pen name Tentendō 転々堂 - a Tokyo nichinichi writer who wrote most of the stories that accompanied Yoshiiku's pictures for Gusokuya's Tokyo nichinichi shinbun.1
 Publication Date  June 15, 1875
Gusokuya 具足屋 Kahei, Ningyōchō 人形町 [Marks: pub. ref. 085; seal ref. 24-031]
 Carver no carver's seal, but likely Watanabe Horiei
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good - backed; small hole to left of figure of old woman; soiling or printers smudge lower right corner
 Genre  ukiyo-e; nishiki-e shinbun
 Format  vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 14 x 9 3/8 in. (35.6 x 23.8 cm)

 Collections This Print
1 Nishiki-e Shinbun website of William Wetherall http://www.nishikie.com/almanac/Almanac_whos_who.html