A Beautiful Story About a Parent and Child, No. 10 from Kankyo, Nishiki-e Hyakuji Shinbun


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

A Beautiful Story About a Parent and Child,

No. 10 from Kankyo, Nishiki-e Hyakuji Shinbun

by Hasegawa Sadanobu II, 1875

Portrait of Saigō Takamori

IHL Cat. #2300

About This Print

The tenth issue of the Ōsaka newspaper the Officially Authorized, Brocade Picture News of Everything (Kankyo, Nishiki-e Hyakuji Shinbun.) The title given for this print in the ARC Ukiyoe Database is 水汲渡世の親子美談, suggesting a "feel good" story about a parent and child fetching water. The first two columns of text read:
東京浅草十上平右衛門町水汲渡世, letting us know that this story is set in Asakusa in Tokyo.

The banner held aloft by the cherubs provides the newspaper's name 官許 錦画百事新聞 第十号 (Kankyo Nishikie Haykuji Shinbun), with the word kankyo suggesting this nishiki-e shinbun passed through some type of government review before its introduction in September 1876. 

Following their introduction in Tokyo, nishiki-e shinbun made their appearance in Ōsaka.  The Ōsaka-issued prints differed from their Tokyo counterparts in being half-size (chuban rather than oban size). The Kankyo, Nishiki-e Hyakuji Shinbun was the most popular newspaper of its type in the Ōsaka area and published 190 issues from September 1875 through September 1876. It became a daily newspaper in June 1876, changing its format to look more like that of a newspaper, with a full page on the left devoted to text explaining the picture on the right.

The format of the paper changed in June 1876
(new format on left; original format on right.)

Initially, the Kankyo, Nishiki-e Hyakuji Shinbun, simply took articles from Tokyo's Yomiuri Shinbun and the Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun, but its later papers began to report exclusively on news from Keihan, the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area, based on its own reporting.2 Hagegawa Sadanobu II was the artist for all the prints in the series. The Waseda University Library entry for their bound edition of prints from this nishiki-e shinbun, lists the "author" as the writer Chisokukan Shōkyoku 知足館 松旭, but it is not clear to me whether this is in reference to his writing the text for all the prints or just the preface print in their bound volume. (See https://www.wul.waseda.ac.jp/kotenseki/html/bunko10/bunko10_07354/index.html)

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

1 website of Bunsei Shoin, Booksellers, Co., Ltd. https://www.bunsei.co.jp/original/published-book/nisikiesinbun/
2 Ibid.

This installation features more than 30 loans from two remarkably rich local resources, the Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints, and the Lee & Mary Jean Michels Collection. It was co-curated by Professors Akiko Walley (History of Art and Architecture) and Glynne Walley (East Asian Languages and Literatures) and JSMA Chief Curator Anne Rose Kitagawa. QR codes on selected labels allow visitors to access translations and explanations of the complex wordplay, imagery, and cultural context of these fascinating objects.


HASEGAWA Sadanobu II/Konobu I (二代 長谷川貞信/初代小信, 1848-1940)

Japanese; Meiji period, 1875

A Beautiful Story about a Parent and Child, No.10 of Authorized Brocade Picture News of Everything (Kankyo Nishiki-e Hyakuji Shinbun)

Ukiyo-e woodblock print in horizontal chūban format; ink and color on paper

TheLavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints, IHL.2300

Translationof text on print:

In Heiemon-chō, Asakusa, Tokyo, one Shibamura Kyūzō, a water-carrier bytrade, had three children, including his heir Kyūtarō, ten, and two daughters.They were poor but the parents doted on their children and could not choose afavorite. Then came the smallpox and they lost one of their daughters. Kyūzōlost heart under the hardship of having his child plucked from him like acherry blossom in a harsh wind, leaving neither flower nor seed behind. Hedrowned his desperation in drink; he drank more by the day, becomingincreasingly deranged under the influence of sake. He fell down the well, jumped from the second story, andended up losing the use of his legs. His wife remonstrated with him, but to noavail, and so she left the children to care for their father while she took herman’s place to carry water from place to place. Working in this way she ensuredtheir survival in destitution. The children exerted themselves mightily fortheir father’s sake, and when their mother came home she would give them supper,pained by her children’s sufferings. When rumors of their circumstances – achaste woman and her filial children banding together to carry on the familytrade – eventually make their way to the higher-ups, they are bound to praisethem, according to the Hōchi Shinbun[News Dispatch]. 

(GlynneWalley, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Literatures)

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description A Beautiful Story About a Parent and Child, number 10
 Mizukumi to sei no oyako bidan 水汲渡世の親子美談 第十号
 Newspaper Officially Authorized, Brocade Picture News of Everything
 Kankyo, Nishiki-e Hyakuji Shinbun 官許 錦画百事新聞
 Artist Hasegawa Sadanobu II (1848-1940)
長谷川貞信 画 Hasegawa Sadanobu ga
 Seal not sealed
 Writer of Text
 Publication Date 1875
 Maeda Takehachirō [sometimes read Maeda Buhachirō] 前田武八郎 [Marks: pub. ref. 288; seal ref. 25-387]

left column: 前田武八郎 板
Maeda Takehachirō han
right column: 大坂心才橋塩町
Osaka address of publisher

left column: 印刷人 前田喜次郞
printer: MaedaKijirō
right column: 編輯人 友鳴吉兵衛
editor: Tomonari Kichibei (Tomonari Kichibee) 

 Carver unknown - no carver's mark or name on print
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - not backed; minor soiling mainly in margins; several small insect holes
 Genre ukiyo-enishiki-e shinbun
 Format vertical chuban
 H x W Paper 
 7 3/16 x 9 15/16 in. (18.31 x 25.2 cm) 
 H x W Image 6 11/16 x 9 1/2 in. (17 x 24.1 cm)

 Collections This Print
 Ritsumeikan University,  Art Research Center Ukiyo-e Portal Database AcNo.MSZB07-04-150_00001(13150); Waseda University Library 文庫10 07354 (included in a bound edition of prints)
last revision:
9/20/2020 created