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Kirino Toshiaki's Mistress, Akiko from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kirino Toshiaki's Mistress, Akiko

from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

by Inoue Yasuji, 1886

IHL Cat. #479

About This Print

Print number 四六 (46)1 in the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition pictures Akiko 秋子, the mistress of Kirino Toshiaki 桐野利秋 (one of the rebel leaders during the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion led by Saigo Takamori.)  In the scroll-like cartouche, shown below, it mentions that she is charming 艶美 and beautiful 容色 (but, the cartouche remains untranslated for now.) 

There is little in the literature about the role of women in the Rebellion
, but it is known that a women's brigade existed and a number of prints show women in battle on the side of the rebels.  In an 1880 Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) print titled Kirino Toshiaki's Mistress (collection of the National Gallery of Victoria2) a partial translation of its text reads, "During the fight she stands at the head of the women's troops; when resting she offers help, shares out food and looks after the soldiers' needs, together in suffering and joy.”  The NGV refers to Akiko 秋子, by the name Hisa, but that seems to be an error on their part, as is referring to Akiko as Kirino's wife, rather than as his mistress 妾.

Inoue, a student of Kobayashi Kiyochika, contributed thirteen prints to this series.  He was to die at the age of 25 in 1889, three years after this print was issued.

Although this print shows the number 46 in the circle in the lower brocade border, it was part of the original release of prints for this series and is not listed in the series' Table of Contents. 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. 
2 National Gallery of Victoria http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ngvschools/FloatingWorld/legendaryheros/Kirino-Toshiaki-s-wife/

Transcription of Scroll

A scroll, present on each print in the series, contains brief historical details of the figure and scene being portrayed.

For anyone who would like to translate the text appearing in the scroll of this print, please click on the below image (and then email me your translation! - ihl@myjapanesehanga.com).

click on image to enlarge

Source: with thanks to Yajifun http://yajifun.tumblr.com/
教導立志基 四十六 桐野利秋の妾秋子 井上探景(安治) 1886年 
“秋子ハ熊本の商某の娘なり 容色艶美また才能乃聞へあり 桐野利秋の妾となり鹿児島に従往(したがひゆ)き西郷の暴擧(暴挙)に際し暇(いとま)となり歸るにおよび其所在(ありか)を詳(つまびらか)にせず 其後桐野の陣營(陣営)へ日毎に薪を持来り或は負疵者(負傷者 てをひ)を看護し只管(したすら)勞動(労働 はたら)く女あり 兵士恠(怪? あやしん)で糾問せしに利秋の妾と知れ?再び桐野に見(まみ)えしに涙をよそに其順逆を説き強諫せしハ天晴雄々しき貞婦なり 喃々舎北雅”

Color Variant Edition

The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 012-0963

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 秋子 Akiko (Kirino Toshiaki's Wife)
 Series“Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition” (Kyōdō risshiki 教導立志基) [note: seriestitle also listed as  'Kyōdō isshi no Moto', ‘Kyōdō 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  Inoue Yasuji (1864-1889)

井上探景 Inoue Tankei ga
 Seal  artist's Tankei 探景 red oval seal below signature [as shown above]
 Publication Date 1886 明治十九年 Meiji 19
 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)
[delivered (notified) Meiji 19th year]: 御届 明治十九年
[Meiji 19, printing and publication]
assigned number within series: 四六 [46]
publisher information:  板  両国吉川町二番地 松木平吉 
[printer and publisher Ryōgoku Yoshikawachō 2-banchi Matsuki Heikichi han]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - Japanese album backing paper; borders slightly trimmed
 Genre ukiyo-e; rishki-e; kyōiku nishiki-e
 Miscellaneous print number 46 (四六); not listed in the Table of Contents for the series
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 13 7/8 x 9 1/4 in. (35.2 x 23.5 cm)
 H x W Image 12 1/2 x 8 3/16 (31.8 x 20.8 cm) area inside brocade border
  "Positive Perceptions of Tokugawa Rule in Meiji Prints," Jim Dwinger, appearing in Andon 109, Journal of the Society for Japanese Arts, 2020, p. 10
 Collections This Print
 The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 012-0963 (color variant edition)
last revision: