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Murakami Yoshiteru from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition (re-issue)


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Murakami Yoshiteru

from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

by Inoue Yasuji, 1902

Chōdensu from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition (re-issue)

IHL Cat. #2171

About This Print

This 1902 re-issued print from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition depicts picturing Murakami Hikoshirō Yoshiteru (村上 彦四郎 義光), a retainer of Prince Morinaga's (1308-1335), taking back his prince's Imperial banner from imperious villagers. He wears the cap of a yamabushi (fighting monk) which the Prince's party used as disguises during their flight from Kyoto to Yoshino in Yamata where the Prince intended to build a new castle outside the reach of the Regent, Hōjō Takatoki (1303-1333.)   For the original issue of this print see Murakami Yoshiteru from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

The 1902 re-issued series of prints eliminated the brocade borders of the original series issued between 1885 and 1890. 

Transcription of Scroll

A scroll, present on each print in the series, contains brief historical details of the figure and scene being portrayed.

click on image to enlarge
Source: with thanks to Yajifun http://yajifun.tumblr.com/

21 Murakami Yoshiteru 村上義光

教導立志基 廿一 村上義光 井上探景(安治) 1885年12月25日


村上義光は彦四郎と称し官左馬権頭なり元弘の亂(乱)護良親王に従て吉野に赴く 土人芋瀬某 賊の為に之を要す 親王従者をして之に説かしむ 芋瀬遂に路を開き錦旗 若くは近臣一兩名(一両名)を留めんことを請ふ 依て錦旗を授て過ぐ 義光後(おくれ)て到り芋瀬乃衆卒錦旗を荷ふて行くを見て大に怒り直に前(すゝ)ミて衆卒を斃し旗を奪て去る 後 吉野陥るに及び親王に代り自盡すと云 實(実)に忠勇共に得難き名傑なり 久松小學生徒 幸 脩 十四年二ヶ月”

About The Series "Kyōdō risshi no motoi"

1. This series is variously translated as "Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition," "Foundations of Learning and Achievement," "Foundation of Instruction and Perseverance," "Self-Made Men Worthy of Emulation," "Paragons of Instruction and Success," "Moral of Success," "Examples of Self-Made Leaders," and "Instruction in the Fundamentals of Success."  The title in Japanese is sometimes seen as "Kyōdō risshiki or "Kyōdō risshi no moto," in addition to the most commonly seen transliteration of "Kyōdō risshi no motoi".
2. For a complete listing of all the prints in the series and additional information please see the article on this site titled Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition.

This series ran between October 1885 and November 1890 and featured a long list of heroes and heroines, from antiquity to contemporary times, who were regarded as standards of moral leadership and self-realization.

Source: Kiyochika Artist of Meiji Japan, Henry D. Smith II, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988, p. 74-75; original research and as footnoted.
This series of 58 prints,1 plus a table of contents sheet (目録), were originally published between October 1885 and November 1890 by the Tokyo publisher Matsuki Heikichi 松木平吉.2  The table of contents sheet issued by the publisher states that "fifty prints make up the complete set (五十番揃)".  Three prints not in the initial release were added over the five year publication period, as were five redesigns of original prints, eventually increasing the total print count to 58.  The seven artists contributing prints were Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915) [20 prints], Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908) [16 prints], Inoue Tankei (Yasuji) (1864-1889) [13 prints], Taiso (Tsukioka) Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) [5 prints],  Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912) [2 prints], Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900) [1 print], and Hachisuka (Utagawa) Kuniaki II (1835-1888) [1 print].  All the artists, with the exception of Yōshū Chikanobu, are listed in the top scroll of the table of contents sheet.  Various colors (including blue, blue/green, and tan/brown) were used for the decorative border, and in 1902 the series was re-issued by Matsuki without borders.  

Brief texts contained within a scroll-like cartouche appearing on each print provide historical details.  The scroll composer's name is given at the end of the scroll text.  The “lofty ambition” of the title is a Confucian concept, originally from Mencius, meaning “righteous determination that would inspire others.”  The market for the series probably included former samurai, ambitious youth, and conservative intellectuals.

"[W]hen it was completed in 1890 the publisher was singled out for special recognition by the government for having sponsored such noble subject matter."3

1 The Tokyo Metropolitan Library online collection shows 50 prints and a Table of Contents sheet.  The Table of Contents lists the titles of 50 prints.  Smith in Kiyochika Artist of Meiji Japan identified 52 prints.  I have identified 58 prints from this series including five prints (Ikina, Michizane SugiwaraKesa GozenSoga Brothers and Hokiichi Hanawa) that were re-designed and re-printed, likely due to damaged or lost blocks.
2 Robert Schaap notes in Appendix II, p. 166 of Yoshitoshi, Masterpieces from the Ed Freis Collection, Chris Uhlenbeck and Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 2011 that the series originally appeared as newspaper supplements.
3 The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, Julia Meech-Pekarik, Weatherhill, 1986, p. 122.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Murakami Yoshiteru 村上義光
 Series“Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition” (Kyodo risshiki 教導立志基) [note: series title also listed as  'Kyodo Risshi no Moto', ‘Kyodo risshi no motoi’, ‘Kyōdō risshi ki’ and variously translated as “Moral of success” or “Foundations of learning and achievement” or “Self-made Men Worthy of Emulation”' or “Examples of Self-made Leaders” or "Paragons of instruction and success"] 
 Artist Inoue Yasuji (1864-1889)
Inoue Tankei ga  井上 探景画
Tankei 探景 red oval seal below signature, as shown above
 Publication Date
Initial publication date 1885.  This print re-issued August 10, 1902.

[Meiji 35th year 8th month 5th day, printing]
          年    日 行 
[Meiji 35th year 8th month 10th day, delivered] 

 Matsuki Heikichi (松木平吉) proprietor of Daikokuya Heikichi [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 029]

[printing and publishing]
[Tokyo Nihonbashi Honmachi Nichōme 2-banchi]
電話 (八十六 
[telephone number]
[Matsuki Heikichi]
大平 [Daikokuya "daihei" seal]

 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - full size; Japanese album backing paper; soiling center of top margin into image; minor marks and soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e; rishki-e; kyōiku nishiki-e
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 14 x 9 1/2 in. (35.6 x 24.1 cm)
 H x W Image 12 5/8 x 8 1/4 in. (32.1 x 21 cm
 Collections This Print
last update:
11/18/2019 created