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Kido Suikōin from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

Oishi Yoshio from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kido Suikōin

from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

by Mizuno Toshikata, 1890

Sanjō Sanetomi from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

IHL Cat. #1031

About This Print

This unnumbered print1 in the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition portrays the geisha Ikumatsu [the future wife of Kido Kōin, a.k.a. Kido Takayoshi 木戸孝允 and Katsura Kogorō 桂 小五郎 (1833-1877)], handing food to Kido while she was hiding him in August 1864 from the pursuing special police force (shinsengumi), organized by the bakufu (military government).  Kido was a leader of the Ishen shishi which sought to weaken or overthrow the shogunate, which they felt was not taking a sufficiently strong stand against the "barbarians."  It is told that Ikumatsu argued with the police and blocked their way long enough for Kido to escape.  Helping him to escape to Kyoto, they both fled to Chōshū.  Kido was to play a major role in the overthrow of the shogunate in 1867 which brought the Emperor Meiji to power and began the Meiji Restoration.  For a portrait of Kido please see this collection's print Portrait of Kido Takayoshi.

After the war Kido had her adopted into a samurai family and married her. He changed his name to Kido Takayoshi, and Ikumatsu became Kido Matsuko.

1 Numbering of the prints was haphazard during the production of the series. While this print is unnumbered, the title for this print is shown in the 48th position listed in the Table of Contents for this series (reference Table of Contents from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition). 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.  

Kido Takayoshi (Aug. 11, 1833 - May 26, 1877)

Source: National Diet Library website http://www.ndl.go.jp/portrait/e/datas/65.html?c=3
Statesman. Born in Yamaguchi, the son of a doctor serving in the Hagi Clan. He became a pupil of Shoin Yoshida. Later he learned swordsmanship and western military science in Edo. Opposed to the kobu gattai group (supporters of the union of the Imperial Court and the Shogunate), he worked tirelessly for the sonno joi undo (movement to revere the emperor and expel the barbarians). He held an important position in the clan and led the argument for the overthrow of the shogunate. In 1866, he concluded the Satsuma-Choshu Alliance with the Kagoshima Clan. After the coup d'etat of osei fukko (restoration of Imperial rule), he engaged in the drafting of the Charter Oath. Appointed san'yo (senior councillor), he poured his efforts into hanseki hokan (the return of the lands and people to the Emperor). He became sangi (councillor) in 1870. In 1871, he took part in Iwakura Mission as deputy envoy. Later, he held important posts including monbukyo(Education Minister), naimukyo(Home Miinister), chairman of the local official council, cabinet councillor, etc., while advocating the gradual establishment of constitutional government.

Transcription of Scroll
click to enlarge image

Source: with thanks to Yajifun http://yajifun.tumblr.com/
“翠香院殿ハ故贈従二位木戸孝允公の夫人なり 始の名ハ竹松 元西京藝子(芸子)なり 文久の頃尊皇攘夷の論を聞き慷慨をして國歩の艱難を憂ふ 且て長藩桂小五郎に邂逅したり 小五郎ハ即(すなハち)故贈従二位の幼名なり 元治の亂 幕府小五郎を捕んとす 竹松小五郎を其家の床下に匿し日々食糧を運び深く之れを慰め遂に追補を免れしめたり 維新の後小五郎青雲に上り竹松の志を感じ迎へて夫人となし以て再生の德に報ひたりと云ふ 庚寅夏日 以寿美 述”

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 Kido Suikōin 木戸翠香院
 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 Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908)
年方 Toshikata
 Seal Toshikata seal as shown above
 Publication Date October 1890 明治廿三年 月 日
 Publisher  Matsuki Heikichi (松木平吉) proprietor of Daikokuya Heikichi [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 029]

click on image to enlarge
(from right to left)
publishing and printing date: 明治廿三年月 日  印刷 出版
[Meiji 23 10th month, printing and publication]
assigned number within series: number omitted
publisher information: 著印刷兼発行者  両国吉川町二番地 松木平吉 
[printer and publisher Ryōgoku Yoshikawachō 2-banchi Matsuki Heikichi]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - original album backing; almost full-size
 Genre ukiyo-e; rishki-e; kyōiku nishiki-e
 Miscellaneous no editions of this print that I have seen carry a print number; position 48 in the Table of Contents for the series
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 13 7/8 x 9 3/4 in. (35.2 x 24.8 cm) 
 H x W Image
 13 7/8 x 9 5/8 in. (35.2 x 24.4 cm) [12 1/2 x 8 in. (31.8 x 20.6 cm) area inside brocade border]
 Collections This Print
Tokyo Metropolitan Library 270-K4; Tokyo Digital Museum 96200409