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Family of Thieves, No. 822 Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Family of Thieves

No. 822 Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun

by Utagawa Yoshiiku, 1874

Showing the Flag, No. 849 Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun

IHL Cat. #401

About This Print

At the top of this "news nishiki'e" in the banner held aloft by two cherubs is the name of the newspaper who sponsored it, the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun 東京日々新聞.  The print is about "a married couple who are professional thieves. Reversing the 'usual' gender roles, here it is the wife who breaks into houses wearing a sword and clad in a male attire. The husband keeps watch at the door, their baby strapped to his back. The picture shows the family happily making their way home after a 'job.'"1

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.

1 Waseda University Library website http://www.wul.waseda.ac.jp/kosho/bunko10/b10_8059_22/index.html

Story Summation and Commentary by William Wetherall

Source: Nishiki-e Shinbun website of William Wetherall http://www.nishikie.com/stories/TNS-0822_family_of_thieves.html

The wife wears the sword in this family and burglarizes homes while her husband watches the street with their baby on his back. Here the family is going home after a successful heist. If caught in the act, she would probably say she was just cleaning house.

According to the seal, this nishikie was approved for publication the same month the article appeared in the newspaper.

The writer, Dondon, identifies himself as a "News bureau employee" (Shinbunkyoku no yatoido). Dondon is more fully Tentendo Dondon, aka Tentendo Shujin or just Shujin, among other pennames of the writer Takabatake Ransen, a popular writer hired by Tokyo nichinichi shinbun in 1873.

Japanese Transcription of Text

Source: University of Tokyo website http://t4.iii.u-tokyo.ac.jp/archives/digital_archives/ono_collection/contents/item.6.N035.html [note: website is no longer active]

衣類(いるゐ) 調度(ちやうど)

新聞局の雇人 鈍々述

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description  Family of Thieves (八百廿貳号 No. 822)
 Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun  東京日々新聞
 Artist  Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Ikkeisai Yoshiiku ga 一恵斎芳幾画
 Seal  芳幾 Yoshiiku (see above)
 Writer of Text
 Takabatake Ransen 高畠 藍泉 (1838-1885), a Tokyo nichinichi writer who wrote most of the stories that accompanied Yoshiiku's pictures for Gusokuya's Tokyo nichinichi shinbun.1
 Publication Date
October 12, 1874
Gusokuya Kahei 具足屋嘉兵衛, [Marks: pub. ref. 085; seal ref. 24-031]

seal reading:
top: 人形町 Ningyōchō
bottom: 具足屋 Gusokuya
Watanabe Horiei (渡辺彫栄)
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent
 Genre  ukiyo-e; nishiki-e shinbun
 Format  vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 14 x 9 1/2 in. (35.6 x 24.1 cm)

 Collections This Print
 Waseda University Library 10 08059 0022
The University of Tokyo Digital Archives Ono Hideo Collection N035; Tokyo Metropolitan Library 008-029-1; ARC 国会109-03-033; Hagi Uragami Museum U01164

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

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