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Hell is Booming from the series Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Hell is Booming

from the series Long Live Japan:

One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs

by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1895

Pulling the Necks from the series Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs
IHL Cat. #380

About This Print

This print is one of fifty prints from the first part of the three part series One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs. (Hyakusen hyakushô) created by the artist Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), the writer Nishimori Takeki (1861-1923), alias Koppi Dōjin, and the publisher Matsuki Heikichi (1870-1931).

The king of the dead who passes judgment on them stands behind a podium, flanked by two assistants. He looks out over a vast number of Chinese dead, all of whom call themselves "Dozaemon" (drowned person), and is overwhelmed.

Source: University of Vienna Ukiyo'e Caricature website http://kenkyuu.jpn.univie.ac.at/karikaturen/detail.asp?docid=899&lang=e&first=1

Image Description

A crowd of Chinese people is shown here in the foreground of the picture. Because of their numerousness and the fact that they turn their backs to the viewer, only the back of their heads is visible.

Top right a precious dressed figure is standing behind a bulky podium, the purple colour of his skin and the typical head with the sign for “king” on it suggest that here the ruler of the underworld, Enma-ō, is depicted. 
He is arguing with an expressive gesture. Next to him two single heads are placed on a black and golden column, each of them wearing a scowl on his faces.

Between listeners and podium a green-coloured devil with cornets is guarding the scene.


The print is part of a series relating to the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), a conflict between Japan and China about interests in Korea. 

In November 1894 the Japanese troops had already captured first victories, many of them at sea. They are mentioned in the text above: The victories at Seikan und Asan (July 30, 1894), Pjöngjang (September 16, 1894) and the Yellow Sea (September 17, 1894).

Here the emperor of hell King Enma faces a huge amount of dead Chinese soldiers; drowned in battles with the Japanese Army. Only narrowly he can manage the situation. 

The two heads lying on the column are called miru me and kagu hana (見る目かぐ鼻) because of their ability to see and smell wrongdoing they help the emperor to evaluate the arriving dead. 

The text once more is sprinkled with wordplays. Here the word dozaemon meaning “drowned person” is used as name for the numerous Chinese. 

The last sentence can be read as a pun on the name Shinkoku ( 清国) referring to China. By writing with other characters he is transformed into shikoku 死国, “land of death”, an ironic hint on the great losses on Chinese side.

About The Series One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs

This series One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs was issued in three parts and presented parodies of the enemy, the Chinese in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 and ten years later the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. The first part of the series titled Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs, consisting of fifty prints, was issued between September 1894 and August 1895.  The second part of the series titled Magic Lantern Society: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs, consisting of twelve prints, was issued between November 1895 and December 1896.  Both of these parts parodied (often in a racist manner) the Chinese people, leadership and war effort. The third and last part of the series, consisting of eight-six prints, used the same title as the first part Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs.  Issued between April 1904 and April 1905, the prints parodied the Russian war effort. For more information about the series see the article One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs on this site.

Inscription - Japanese and English

骨皮道人豊島海(ほうとうかい)でちやんちやん船(ぶね)が一艘(さう)沈(しづ)められて以来(このかた)。閻(えん)/魔大王(まだいわう)ハ夜(よ)を日(ひ)に継(つい)での取調(とりしら)べ「コリヤ其方(そのほう)は / 何(なに)と申(まを)す「ヘイ私(わた)しハ土左衛門(とさえもん)「其次(そのつぎ)ハ「ヘイ私(わた)しも / 土左衛門(どざえもん)「其次(そのつぎ)ハ「私(わた)しも同(おな)じく「其次(そのつぎ)ハ「私(わた)しも / 右(みぎ)同断(どうだん)と云(い)ふので大王(だいわう)ハとうとう七日七夜(なぬかななよ)土左(どざ)/衛門(えもん)の書続(かきつづ)け其(その)の取調(とりしら)べでさへ未(ま)だ済(すま)ない所(ところ)へ持(もつ)て / 来(き)て直(すぐ)に成歓(せいくわん)牙山(がざん)から何千人(なんせんにん)其(その)又(ま)た下調(したしら)べも / 済(すま)ない中(うち)に、今度(こんど)ハ平壌(へいじやう)と来(き)て此(この)亡者(もうじや)が何万人(なんまんにん)。/ それから之(これ)に続(つづ)いて黄海(くわうかい)と来(き)て是(これ)が又(また)何(なん)百/人(にん)。イクラちやんちやんと云(い)つたからとて、爾(さ)うチャン/チャンと片付(かたつ)きやう筈(はづ)がないから。流石(さすが)/ の閻魔王(えんまわう)も驚(おどろ)いて居(い)ると 鬼「イヤモウ忙数(いそがしい)の / 忙数(いそがし)く無(な)いのッて。此様(このやう)に亡的(もうてき)がドヤドヤ柙掛(おしか)けて / 来(く)るなんざア。地獄(ぢごく)の開闢(かいびやく)以来(いらい)始(はじ)めててせう。/ お負(まけ)に来(く)る奴(やつ)も来(く)る奴(やつ)も皆(みん)なちやんちやん坊/主(ばうず)ばかしですが。何故(なぜ)又(また)ちやんちやん坊主(ばうず)/ ハ此様(こんな)に死去(くたば)るのでせうと云(い)へば/ 閻「それだから国(くに)の名(な)を死國(しにこく)と云(い)ふのだ

Jigoku no ōhanjō Koppi Dōjin

Hōtōkai de chan-chan-bune ga issō shizumerarete irai. Enma-daiō wa yo o hi ni tsuide no torishirabe 「Korya sono hō wa / nani to mōsu 「Hei watashi wa dozaemon 「Sono tsugi wa 「Hei watashi mo / dozaemon 「Sono tsugi wa 「Watashi mo onajiku 「Sono tsugi wa 「Watashi mo / migi dōdan to iu no de daiō wa tōtō nanoka nanayo doza/emon no kakitsuzuke sono torishirabe de sae mada sumanai tokoro e motte/kite sugu ni Seikan Gazan kara nanzennin sono mata shitashirabe mo / sumanai uchi ni, kondo wa Heijō to kite kono mōja ga nanmannin. / Sore kara kore ni tsuzuite Kōkai to kite kore ga mata nanbyakunin. Ikura Chan-chan to itta kara tote, sō jan/jan to katatsuki yō hazu ga nai kara. Sasuga / no Enma-ō mo odoroite iru to
Oni 「Iya mō isogashii no / isogashiku nai no tte. Kono yō ni mōteki ga doyadoya oshikakete / kuru nan zā. Jigoku no kaibyaku irai hajimete deshō. / Omake ni kuru yatsu mo kuru yatsu mo mina Chan-chan-bō/zu bakari desu ga. Naze mata Chan-chan-bōzu / wa konna ni kutabaru no deshō to ieba 
En「Sore dakara kuni no na o shinikoku to iu no da

Source: Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Philip K. Hu, et. al., Saint Louis Museum of Art, 2016, p. 179

Hell is Blooming [by] Koppi Dōjin 

After another Chinese warship was sunk at H
ōtō [Pungdo], King Enma interrogates nonstop around-the-clock. "What's your name, buy?" "My name is Dozaemon (drowned person)." "And yours?" "I'm called Dozaemon too." "Fine...And your name?" "Mine is the same." "The next?" "My name is like the others."

So King Enma wrote down only the name "Dozaemon" for seven days and nights. He hadn't finished when thousands of dead arrived from Seikan [Seongwhan] and Gaza [Asan]. And as if that wasn't enough, another large number of dead soldiers from Peyongyang are arriving in the underworld - followed by thousands from the Yellow Sea. Even though all of them are called Chanchan [a derogatory term for Chinese], checking them isn't easy. Even King Enma is surprised...
A DEVIL: "Uh-oh!" I'm already exhausted! Have there ever seen so many dead at one time since the beginning of Hell? And how numerous they are, all of them Chinese! Why are so many Chinese dying?"
KING ENMA: "It's because their country is called 'Land of the Dead'."

[ “Land of the Dead” shinkoku 死国 is a pun on Shinkoku 清国 meaning “China”].

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Hell is Booming
 Jigoku no ōhanjō 地獄の大繁盛
 Series Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs
[also translated as Long Live Japan! One Hundred Selections, One Hundred Laughs]
 Nihon banzai: Hyakusen hyakushō 日本萬歳 百撰百笑  [日本万歳 百撰百笑]
 Artist  Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915)
 Signature Kiyochika
 Seal  Kiyo
 Publication Date November 1894 (Meiji 27)
 Publisher Matsuki Heikichi (松木平吉) proprietor of Daikokuya
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - trimmed to image, not backed
 Genre ukiyo-e - senso-e (Sino-Japanese War); giga; fūshiga
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 14 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (36.8 x 24.8 cm)
 H x W Image
 14 x 9 1/4 in. (35.6 x 23.5 cm)
 Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Philip K. Hu, et. al., Saint Louis Museum of Art, 2016, p. 179, pl. 72.4
 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston2000.208; Hagi Uragami Museum U01256; The Tsubouchi Memorial TheatreMuseum of Waseda University Digital Archives Collection 201-1809; Library of Congress FP 2 - JPD, no. 904; Östasiatiska musee OM-2010-0009; Saint Louis Museum of Art, 902:2010.39
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