Signed: Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga
Publisher: Daikokuya Kinnosuke
(Marks 033 - seal not listed)
About the series Wakan Hyaku Monogatori
In the second month of 1865 the Daikokuya Kinnosuke launched Yoshitoshi's first print series exploring the world of the supernatural. Daikokuya was located in Tsukiji and had been in business for only two years before embarking upon this ambitious project with the then twenty-six year old Yoshitoshi.
Stevenson points out in his description of the sets title page that the presence of an oil lamp with wicks (hyaku tōshin, or 'one hundred wicks') refers to the one hundred ghost tales mentioned in the title. The storytelling game, or hyaku monogatari ('one hundred tales'), became popular during the late Edo Period (1615-1868) and was often played after sundown in a room lit by one hundred oil-lamp wicks. One person would tell a tale, after which a wick was blown out. As the game progressed, there were fewer and fewer wicks burning, the darkness of the room heightening a feeling of eerie suspense. After the last wick had been extinguished and the one hundredth story told, the room would be completely drk. It was then that the real ghosts and demons were said to make their appearance. Four authors contributed text to the set: Sankanjin Kōrai (Takeda Kōrai, 1819-82, five designs), Sumida Ryōko (act. c. 1860-80, seven designs), Kikuyōtei Rokō (nine designs) and Kanagaki Robun (1829-94, five designs).
The series was originally printed in a deluxe edition, employing heavy paper, bokashi and burnishing for the black areas. This was a publishing strategy that had been in common use since the late 1850s. In other words, a set was issued first as an exquisitely printed edition to establish its reputation and to facilitate the sales of a less deluxe edition. A modern-day analogy to this can be seen in the release of a hardback editon before a paperback version.
The images in the set were published in quick succession with twenty-six designs appearing within an eight month period beginning in the second month of 1865. Twelve prints were issued during the second moth alone. The contents page lists twenty-five works; this mention of fewer pieces (twenty-five versus the actual twenty-six) and the discontinuation of the series is difficult to explain. The publisher Daikokuya Kinnosuke stayed in business until 1875."
Quoted from: Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Fries Collection, p. 79.
There are four prints in the Lyon Collection from this series.
The text in the cartouche in the upper left reads partially: 童子は越後乃国伊夜彦山乃麓に出生し好んで人の肉を喰ひしが自然と鬼形を顕したりとなん後年丹波の国大江山に来つて緑林乃主領となり宮中乃官女を奪ひとり高座に遊びしが竟に頼光乃計作におちいりて汚名を千歳にながしたり 菊葉亭露光記
Illustrated in color in The World of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Tsukioka Yoshitoshi no Sekai - 月岡芳年の世界) by Susugu Yoshida, p. 101, #68.