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Mino no kikori from the series Selections from Japanese History

Paramount Han Xin (Kanshin), One of the Three Heroes of the Han Dynasty

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Mino no kikori

from the series Selections from Japanese History

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1895

Congratulations and Long Life Prince Yoshihito and Princess Sadako

IHL Cat. #1518

About This Print

One of two known prints in the series Selections from Japanese History, issued by the little-known publisher Yazawa Hisakichi 矢沢久吉.  This triptych pictures the tale of a woodcutter from Mino whose filial piety brought about a visit by the Empress Gensho 元正天皇 (reign 715-724).  On the left we see the woodcutter and his father in front of Yōrō Falls paying reverence to the Empress in her palanquin who has come to see the reported miracle of the falls' water turning into sake. 

The Woodcutter's Miracle
As told in the Zenken kojitsu1, during the 8th century a poor woodcutter went to the forest for firewood to warm his sick father.  While searching, he came upon a waterfall whose water magically turned into sake. Filling his gourd he returns home to his ailing father who drinks the sake and miraculously recovers. 

Hearing about this miracle, Empress Gensho visited the waterfall herself and determined that the miracle was a reward for the filial piety of the woodcutter.  In honor of this miracle the Empress renamed the year of her reign "Yōrō", for the location of the waterfall.2 

The Other Known Print from the Series

源義家誠弓力 日本歴史抜撰
Minamoto no Yoshiie and His Powerful True Bow
from the series Nihon rekeshi batsu sen
published by Yazawa Hisakichi

1 The Zenken kojitsu 前賢故実 by the artist Kikuchi Yosai 菊池容斎 (1788-1878) was published in 10 parts, each part made up of 2 volumes, for total of 20 vols over the period 1836-1868.  It consists of 585 portraits and biographies and had a great impact on historical art of the Meiji period.  It was heavily drawn upon by Meiji-ear woodblock artists such as Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) for their own historical works.
Yōrō Falls is located in modern-day Yōrō, Yōrō District, Gifu

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1518
 Title 美濃樵夫 Mino no kikori
 The Woodcutter from Mino
 Series 日本歴史抜撰 Nihon rekeshi batsu sen
 Selections from Japanese History (also seen translated as Selected  Japanese History)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
耕漁 Kōgyo
 Seal none
 Date 1895 June Meiji 28, 6th Month
 Publisher Yazawa Hisakichi 矢沢久吉 [Marks: pub. ref. 620] - publisher's mark appearing in the left margin has been trimmed from this print
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - trimmed; backed; three separate sheets; minor soiling and toning
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 14 1/4 x 9 3/4 in. (36.2 x 24.8 cm) each sheet
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature