Utagawa KUNIYOSHI I
(1797 - 1861)
Fifty-three Pairings for the Tokaido
no. 44: Kuwana: The Story of the Sailor Tokuzo
Signed: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga
Date seal: 1843-45
Publisher: Kojima-ya Jubei
Size: oban tate-e (c. 35.3 x 22.5 cms / c. 13 7/8" x 8 3/4")
Fine impression and color; soft album
backing; very good condition.
ref. no.: # 732932
Price: € 2,500.00
The story of the sailor Tokuzo, at Kuwana,
from the series of fifty-eight prints, Fifty-three Pairings
for the Tokaido, published from 1845 to 1846, was the joint work of
three artists: nineteen of the designs were contributed Hiroshige,
eight by Kunisada (Toyokuni III), while the remaining thirty-one
were created by by Kuniyoshi.
"The sailor Kawanaya Tokuzo decides to go to sea on the last day of the year, although most sailors believe it unpropitious to leave port on this day. A violent storm breaks out during Tokuzo's voyage: the waves reach terrific heights and suddenly the sea monster Umibozu appears out of nowhere. In a loud, hollow voice he demands of Kawanaya Tokuzo: "Name the most horrible thing that you know!" Unperturbed, the hero answers: "My profession, that's the most horrible thing I know." The monster, apparently satisfied with this answer, disappears and the storm is abated. This image is related to the forty-third post-station along the Tokaido, Kuwana." (Quote from Heroes and Ghosts, pls. see below)
B.W.Robinson, Kuniyoshi - The Warrior Prints; Oxford, 1982; series S.44, no. 44; p. 128.
Robert Schaap, Heroes and Ghosts - Japanese prints by Kuniyoshi 1797-1861, Leiden, 1998; showing an impression of the print formerly owned by Vincent van Gogh.