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No. 2 Not Aware Man and Aware Man from the series A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

No. 2 Not Aware Man and Aware Man

from the series A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil

by Shōsai Ikkei, 1872

No. 7 Greedy Merchant and Solicitous Merchant from the series A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil

IHL Cat. #1168

About This Print

The top print shows a what appears to be a sleeping man (perhaps sleepy with too much drink), being rushed through the nighttime streets in a jinrikisha (note 人力車 jin/riki/sha on the lantern.) He is being moved ahead at great speed by both the jinrikisha drivers and a slew of bad little akudama. A wallet (kamiire) containing money (satsu), that he possibly dropped, can be seen in the lower left of the print. 

The bottom print shows a man, who is carrying a box, so possibly some type of vendor, near a sake shop (note the character 酒 on the first shop on the left) whose attention is being drawn to a wallet with its contents lying on the ground by six good little zendamas. Is it his good fortune that he has found this money? Has his abstinence produced his good luck?

Perhaps, and this is total conjecture, these scenes suggest that if one becomes not aware of one surroundings (being drunk) items of value may be overlooked or lost.

For the origin of these zendama and akudama figures please see the article on this site titled Representations of Good and Evil: Origins of Zendama and Akudama Figures in Japanese Prints

About This Series

This series of prints was originally issued as a full size oban sheet containing the "badness" on top and the "goodness" on the bottom.  It is not unusual for the sheets to have been cut into two chuban size prints.  Each print in the series is numbered, this being number two  out of a total of twelve 十二 full size oban prints. 
The popularity of this twelve print 1872 series lead to the issuance by the same publisher Kōeidō in the next year, 1873, of a similar-themed 12 print series targeted at teaching daughters good from bad titled 娘教訓二面鏡 Musume kyōkun nimen kagami, variously translated as "Moral Lessons for Daughters About the Two Sides of Life" and "Two Sides of Educating Daughters". As shown below, the format of the prints in the two series were almost identical, the noticeable difference being the blue-colored (and on some prints, cyan-colored) background on the 1873 series.

 Print two from the 1872 series
A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil
 Print two from the 1873 series Moral Lessons for Daughters About the Two Sides of Life

Print Details
 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description No. 2 
 Series A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil
 Kyōkun zen’aku kagami 教訓善悪鏡
 [also seen translated as Mirror of Moral Lessons About Good and Evil]
 Artist Shōsai Ikkei (fl. 1860-late 1870s)
top print
bottom print
Shōsai Ikkei 昇斎一景 - top and bottom
 Seal top print - unread; bottom print - no seal
 Publication Date
1872, 6th month 
(Aratame - Date Seal)
Tsutaya Kichizō, (Kōeidō) 蔦屋吉藏 [Marks: pub. ref. 556; seal ref. 25-427]
seal reading: Tsutakichi han 蔦吉板
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair - full size uncut sheet; not backed; wormholes and staining
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format two chuban size prints on uncut oban size sheet
 H x W Paper 
 14 3/8 x 9 7/16 in. (36.5 x 24 cm)
 H x W Image
 13 11/16 x 8 7/8 in. (34.8 x 22.5 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Princeton University Library (12 sheets in bound volume) Call Number Pams / NR / Japanese / Box 2 71687527; Arizona State University The Melikian Collection L2011.008.125 (12 sheets in bound volume)
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