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Hanawa Hokiichi from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Hanawa Hokiichi

from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1886

Ono-no Tofu from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition
IHL Cat. #583


About This Print

Print number 四十一 (41)1 in the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition portraying the blind Scholar of National Learning (kokugakusha), Hanawa Hokiichi (1746-1821), and his students in a famous anecdote, related below. This scene was replicated by the artist Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908) in 1890 (see image below), as a replacement for this print whose blocks were possibly lost or damaged. The scroll-like cartouche on both prints contain exactly the same information.

The Two Prints Side-by-side

Hanawa Hokiichi, 1886
Kobayashi Kiyochika
IHL Cat. #583
Hanawa Hokiichi, 1890
Mizuno Toshikata
IHL Cat. #1296

1 Print numbers were sometimes inadvertently omitted from prints, either as initially published or as they were reprinted. Some prints in the series were never assigned numbers and a few of the same numbers appeared on different prints.  When print numbers are shown on the print they sometimes do not agree with the placement of their title in the Table of Contents, as is the case with twelve prints, and some print titles that are listed in the Table of Contents do not show a print number on the print, as is the case with seven prints.

The Anecdote

Source: Famous People of Japan (Ancient and Modern), Edward S. Stephenson and W. Adano, Kelly & Walsh, Ltd., 1911, p. 154.
Hanawa Hokiichi, the famous blind scholar and critic, was once reading with his students the well-known novel called Genji Monogatari. The lecture room was rather small, and was provided with only one lamp, by the light of which the students were just able to see their books. But while they were busily taking notes of their master's lecture, a puff of wind suddenly blew out the lamp and left them in darkness.

Hanawa, being quite unaware of this, calmly went on with his lecture; but the students, being of course unable to see to read or write, had to ask their master to stop for a few moments.

"Why, what is the matter?" inquired Hana-wa.

"It is the light, sir," they replied "The wind has blown out the light, and we can't see our books. Please wait a moment till we light the lamp again."

Hanawa smiled when he heard this, and replied, "That shows the inconvenience of having to depend on eyes; for when the light goes out, you suddenly become blind and helpless. But as for me, I'm fortunate in never having any trouble of this kind."

Hokiichi Hanawa

Source: Famous People of Japan (Ancient and Modern), Edward S. Stephenson and W. Adano, Kelly & Walsh, Ltd., 1911, p. 154.
The story of Hanawa Hokiichi, the famous blind scholar who died in 1821, is probably without parallel in the literary history of the world. He was born in the province of Musashi, and became blind when only seven years old. He was sent to Yedo [Edo] where he tried to learn music and also the art of shampooing, which is practiced by blind men in Japan; but he failed in both. Meanwhile, however, his wonderful memory began to attract the attention of people, for he is said to have remembered everything that he heard. At last, by the help of friends, he was able to devote himself entirely to study, and finally became a very learned man.

Availing himself of his marvelous memory, he set about the task of collecting miscellaneous old documents, and systematized them into well-arranged book form. This book was called the Gunsho Buiju and consisted of no fewer than 2,820 volumes, — the largest book ever published in Japan. It was reprinted during the Meiji era, and is still considered one of the most useful reference books, especially for historians.

He also found time to establish a school called the Wagakusho where he taught the Japanese classics to many students, whose admiration for him as a profound scholar and critic was equaled only by their devotion to him as a man.

Transcription of Scroll

click on scroll detail for enlargement

Source: with thanks to Yajifun http://yajifun.tumblr.com/
教導立志基 四十一 塙保己一 小林清親 1886年1月
Transcription:[scroll text by 保木野]
“塙保己一は武蔵の人なり 幼時病で眼を失ふ 年十五江戸に来り雨富某の家に寄宿し絃歌鍼治を學び特に古書を好ミ人に請ふて讀しめ一事一物聞ごとに人に講ぜしめ遂に文字に通じ皇朝の學を修む 年二十五より四十五に至るまで三千七十部の書を著す 或る夜源氏物語を講ずるに當り燈火滅せしを以て暫く言(ことバ)を休まれたしと請 先生曰ふ サテ/\眼明ハ不自由の者かな と大に笑ひしと云 保木野 迂史”

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 Hanawa Hokiichi 塙保己一
 Series“Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition” (Kyodo risshiki 教導立志基) [note: seriestitle 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 ofEmulation”' or “Examples of Self-made Leaders” or "Paragons of instruction and success"] 
 Artist  Kiyochika Kobayashi (1847-1915)
 Signature Shinsei Kiyochika
 Seal  Kiyochika
 Publication Date January 1886 明治十九年 一月
 PublisherMatsuki Heikichi (松木平吉) proprietor of Daikokuya Heikichi [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 029]

click to enlarge
(from right to left)
publishing and printing date: 御届 明治十九年 一月  
[notification delivered, Meiji 19 1st month]
assigned number within series: 四十一 [41]
publisher information:     両国吉川町二番地 松木平吉 
[artist and publisher Ryōgoku Yoshikawachō 2-banchi Matsuki Heikichi han]

 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - Japanese album backing paper; light horizontal fold just below center
 Genre ukiyo-e; rishki-e; kyōiku nishiki-e
 Miscellaneous print number 41 (四十一); position 42 in the Table of Contents for the series
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 14 1/8 x 9 1/4 in. (35.9 x 23.5 cm)
 H x W Image
 12 5/8 x 8 1/8 in. (32.1 x 20.6 cm) area inside brocade border
 Collections This Print
 Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 401-0562; The British Museum 1906,1220,0.1819