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Double-Take Holdup, No. 944 Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Double-Take Holdup

No. 944 Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun

by Utagawa Yoshiiku, 1875

IHL Cat. #402

About This Print

At the top of this "news nishiki-e" is a banner held aloft by two cherubs containing the name of the sponsoring newspaper, the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun 東京日々新聞.  A bandit holds up a rikisha, and the rikisha man runs off with the loot, leaving both rider and bandit agasp.1

For a summary of the brief life of nishiki-e shinbun (newspaper color woodblock prints) see the article Nishiki-e shinbun and Newspapers in Meiji Japan.

1 website of William Wetherall www.nishikie.com 

The Writer Jono Denpei 條野伝平 (1832-1902)

Sources: Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture, Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, University of Hawaii Press, 2000, p. 198; website of William Wetherall http://www.nishikie.com/almanac/Almanac_whos_who.html

The writer for this print is identified as Jono
Saigiku 条野 採菊 (born Jono Denpei 條野伝平) who also wrote under the name Sansantei Arindo 山々亭有人.

Born in Edo in 1832, by his late teens he had decided to become a writer of gesaku (collective term for prose fiction during the middle to late-Edo period) stories. He published his first story in 1860, and during the 1860s first Yoshiiku, then Yoshitoshi, were doing illustrations for some of his books.

He went on to found the Tokyo nichinichi shinbun, the Keisatsu shinbun and the Yamato shinbun and continued to write fiction until his death in 1902.

Story Translation by William Wetherall

Source: Nishiki-e Shinbun website of William Wetherall http://www.nishikie.com/stories/TNS-0944_double-take_holdup.html

As for there being two surprises in [this] world [life], though sometimes there are, in fact there are stories with two surprises. An agent of a merchant of Senba in Osaka received gold [money] in excess of 1,000 yen from a transaction in Saikyo [Kyoto], and en route back he was [too] late [to] board the [scheduled] boat at Fushimi, and alone, thinking [that hiring] a special boat would be a wasteful expense, retained a rikisha and hurried [over] the land all night to Osaka. At the time they were about to pass through an isolated village, which should not be far to Osaka -- where has it gone? -- it was after three in the night, the moon was hiding in the lims of a mountain, and they didn't know things [couldn't tell one thing from another], and just when the rikisha man was about to put in another candle in the lantern, a man of great size who seems to pierce the clouds appeared from a small shadow carrying a long sword and railed -- Hand over the 1,000 yen of gold you possess and fine; don't and [with] just [but] one thrust . . . . -- The agent just shook, the roots of his teeth not meeting, and he had no words. However, the rikisha man advanced and said -- This being the situation, there are no rights or wrongs [to discuss] [there is nothing to argue, nothing to be done but comply]. Rather than grudging [the gold] and discarding your life, there is nothing like [better than] handing over the gold and preserving your life, of which there are not [but] two. For [in the past] there was [the saying], Do what will benefit you. -- The agent too, now, resigning to this notion that there was nothing [else] to be done, took the gold from his pocket, and when the said rikisha man quickly snatched it and ran off, darkening his tracks [disappearing], both the rikisha man and the robber were appalled and stupefied. In less than an hour the agent returned to Osaka, crying -- As [things] should not have been like this, [I] had no power. -- It was hard to directly go back to his master's house, so he returned to his own house. He was about to [go to the master's house to] apologize, but from the prefectural hall there had been a notice to the master in Senba that the rikisha man with a brief deception had relieved the distress of the agent [rescued the agent from his difficulty], so the master's house instead made queries of [visited] the lodging of the agent and master and servant appeared at the prefectural hall, received the gold, and thickly [deeply] thanked the rikisha man.

Japanese Transcription of Text

Source: University of Tokyo website http://t4.iii.u-tokyo.ac.jp/archives/digital_archives/ono_collection/contents/item.6.N070.html [note: website no longer active}

事小一時間(くわん) 斯(かく)てあるべきならねバ力なくなく大坂へ帰(かへ)り直(ただ)ちに主家(しうか)へも

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Double-Take Holdup (九百四 No. 944)
 Newspaper Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun 東京日々新聞
 Artist  Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Keisai Yoshiiku 恵斎芳幾
 Seal  not sealed
 Writer of Text
 Sansantei Arindo 山々亭有人 [Jono Saigiku 条野 採菊]
 Publication Date
February 26, 1875
Gusokuya Kahei 具足屋嘉兵衛, [Marks: pub. ref. 085; seal ref. 24-031]

seal reading:
top: 人形町 Ningyōchō
bottom: 具足屋 Gusokuya
Watanabe Horiei 渡辺彫栄
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good- repaired wormholes upper right margin; not backed; full size
 Genre ukiyo-e; nishiki-e shinbun
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 14 1/8 x 9 5/8 in. (35.9 x 24.4 cm)

 Collections This Print
 Waseda University Library 10 8059 56; The University of Tokyo Digital Archives Ono Hideo Collection N070
last revision: