Home‎ > ‎Artists‎ > ‎Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)‎ > ‎

Nōgakuzue, Ukai


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Ukai 鵜飼 

(The Cormorant Fisher)

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1898

Nōgakuzue, Kurama Tengu

IHL Cat. #1147

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh). The print depicts a scene from the play Ukai, in which cormorant fisher demonstrates to two Buddhist priests how he caught fish.

For background on the Noh theater see the article on this site "Noh - A Brief Summary by Beata Kubiak Ho-Chi".

The Play - Ukai (The Cormorant Fisher) by Sayemon

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 203-204.

By Enami no Saemon [Sayemon]

Fifth Group

All schools


Act 1:
Waki - A traveling priest, Nichiren Shōnin
Waki-tsure - a traveling priest
Kyōgen - a local person
Shite - the King of Hell

Act 2:
Nochi-shite - Emma, the King of Hell
Nochi-tsure - the spirit of the wife of Yorikaze

When two travelling priests meet an old cormorant fisher one of them recognizes him as the man who gave him shelter tow or three years ago.  The old man then tells them that as he broke the strict prohibition against taking life in the nearby river by fishing there nightly with his cormorants, he has been drowned in the river as punishment.  In return for the priests' promise to pray for his soul he shows them how the fishing is done and then disappears.  Nichiren takes up some stones and after writing part of the Lotus Sutra on them, throws them into the river.  Emma, the King of Hell, then appears and tells them that although the fisherman deserves to suffer for his sins, he will send him to Paradise because of the kindness he showed the priest.

Right Margin Description of Scene

click on image to enlarge

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1147
 Title Ukai 鵜飼 (The Cormorant Fisher)
 Series Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
 Kōgyo 耕漁
White letter seal in a rectangular shape with double border: 湖畔 [Kōhan]
Seal no. 59, p. 171, in The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010.
 DateThis collection's print was issued November 5, 1898 as shown in the print's left margin, as follows: 
Date of Printing: November 1, 1898 (Meiji 31)
Date of Issuance: November 5, 1898

The ARC database entry for their print arcUP00953 carries the same dates as this collection's print.
 Edition unknown 
 Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 日本橋区吉川町二番地 松木平吉 (in left margin) followed by Daikokuya seal,  as shown on left.  
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - album backing; full size, soiling
 Genre nishiki-e; nōgaku zue 能樂圖繪 [Noh play picture] or 能絵 [Noh-e]
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 9 13/16 x 14 3/8 in. (24.9 x 36.5 cm)
 H x W Image
 8 7/8 x 12 15/16 in. (22.5 x 32.9 cm) area within printed black border
 Collections This PrintArt Institute of Chicago 1939.2258.108; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University AcNo.arcUP0744, CoGNo. arcUP0735, AlGNo.arcUP0735 and AcNo. arcUP0953 CoGNo. arcUP0840 AlGNo. arcUP0840; University of Pittsburgh 20091209-kogyo-0285; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 53.2928.9
 Reference Literature The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, ill. 68a, p. 120.
last update: