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Koshikibu no Naishi from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Koshikibu no Naishi

from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1886

Takemitsu Kikuchi from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambitions

IHL Cat. #759

IHL Cat. #1401

About This Print

Two color variations of print number 五 (5)1 in the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition picturing the young poetess Koshikibu no Naishi tugging at the robe of Middle Counselor Fujiwara no Sadayori, who had come to her room to tease her about being chosen to participate in a poetry contest.  Another color variant of this print plus the 1902 re-issue (see "About the Series" below) are pictured below.

IHL Cat. #1401, seems to be a more deluxe printing, using embossing (not visible in the scan of the print above) to create the pattern on Fujiwara's white robe.

1 Numbering of the prints was haphazard during the production of the series. Print numbers were sometimes inadvertently omitted; some prints in the series were never assigned numbers and a few of the same numbers appear on different prints. 

Koshikibu no Naishi

Sources: Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin Isshu in Word and Image, Joshua S. Mostow, University of Hawai'i Press, 1996, p. 319 and Japanese Women Poets:An Anthology, Hiroaki Sato, M.E. Sharpe, 2008, p. 121.
KoShikibu no Naishi, the only child of Izumi Shikibu, died in 1025 while still in her late twenties.  Like her mother, she was a poet and served Empress Shōshi.

When Izumi Shikibu [a famed poet] was in the province of Tango, having accompanied [her husband] Yasumasa, there was a poetry contest in the capital and Handmaid Koshikibu was chosen as one of the poets.  Middle Counselor [Fujiwara no] Sadayori came to her room in the palace and teased her, saying: “What will you do about the poems?  Have you sent someone off to Tango?  Hasn’t the messenger come back?  My, you must be worried.”  He taunts her that she will have to ask for her mother's help.  In response, Koshikibu delivers a devastating impromptu poem that includes the names of three places in Tango (in geographical order, no less), two puns and word associations.

ikuno no michi no
mada fumi no mizu
Ama no Hashidate

The road to Ikuno and Mount Ōe being far away, I have yet to step on Heaven’s Bridge.

Unable to think of a response, Sadayori flees the room. 

The above poem appears in the Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets).

Transcription of Scroll

click on image to enlarge

Source: with thanks to Yajifun http://yajifun.tumblr.com/5 Koshikibu no Naishi 小式部内侍
教導立志基 五 小式部内侍 小林清親 1886年
[scroll text by 花月樓雪州]
“内侍ハ橘の道貞の女なり 幼き時禁中歌合の作者に備りたり 人皆内侍の母ハ世に有名(なだかき)和泉式部なるをもて内侍乃歌は母乃點作せしものと疑ふ 其時和泉式部ハ丹後に在ければ中納言定頼卿戯(たハむれ)に 丹後の使ハ歸りたりや と問ひしに内侍取敢ず「大江山いくのゝ道の遠ければ まだふミも見ず天乃はし立」と詠たるに定頼卿驚て返歌もなく逃出されしとなん 花月樓雪州 誌”

Variant Editions and Later Reissue with White Border

light colored robe with tan border
Tokyo Metropolitan Library 270-K001
1902 reprint

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
 #759, #1401
 Title or Description Koshikibu no Naishi 小式部内侍
 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 Kiyochika 清親
 Kiyochika 清親 seal (as shown above)
 Publication Date 1886 明治十九年
 Publisher  Matsuki Heikichi (松木平吉) proprietor of Daikokuya Heikichi [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 029]
IHL Cat. #759
click on image to enlarge

IHL Cat. #104
click on image to enlarge
(from right to left)
publishing and printing date: 御届 明治十九年
[notification delivered, Meiji 19th year]
assigned number within series: 五 [5]
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 IHL Cat. #759: good - numerous small tears and holes repaired from back; trimmed to border; not backed
 IHL Cat. #1401: good - not backed; almost full-size sheet; soiling, primarily in brocade border; glue discoloration verso left margin; five small binding holes right margin
 Genre ukiyo-e; rishki-e; kyōiku nishiki-e
 Miscellaneous print number 5 (); position 5 in the Table of Contents for the series
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 IHL Cat. #759: 13 7/8 x 9 1/8 in. (35.2 x 23.3 cm)
 IHL Cat. #1401: 14 1/2 x 9 7/8 in. (36.8 x 23.2 cm)
 H x W Image IHL Cat. #759: 13 3/4 x 9 1/4 in. (34.9 x 23.2 cm); 12 5/8 x 8 1/4 in. (32.1 x 21 cm) [area within brocade border]
 IHL Cat. #1401: 14 5/16 x 9 7/8 in. (36.4 x 25.1 cm);12 9/16 x 8 3/16 in. (31.9 x 20.8 cm) [area within brocade border]
 Collections This Print
Tokyo Metropolitan Library 270-K001; Edo-Tokyo Museum, Tokyo Digital Museum 96200366