Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: An Old Picture of an Up-to-Date Teruuji at the Old Temple
(Imayō Teruuji kodera no kozu - 今様輝氏古寺之古図)
A Rustic Genji theme

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Dates: 1851,created
Dimensions: 31.0 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: kiri in red
Publisher: Sawaya Kōkichi (Marks 460 seal 16-109)
Censors' seals: Kinugasa and Watanabe

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; British Museum; Waseda University - right panel only; Sekisui Museum; Hagi Uragami Museum of Art - right panel; Hagi Uragami Museum of Art - center panel; Hagi Uragami Museum of Art - left panel; National Museums of Scotland right panel; National Museums of Scotland - center panel; National Museums of Scotland - left panel; Lyon Collection - Kunisada triptych on the same theme;

Physical description:

"The setting is an abandoned temple on a lonely moonlit moor. Teruuji, standing in the centre, offers a hand towel to his lover Tasogare, who kneels on the ruined veranda wiping her feet with a cloth. From the next room they are spied on by a mysterious female figure dressed in an elaborate costume of a Nō drama, wielding a red and white stage 'wand' in one hand and gripping the cords of a she-devil (Hannya) mask in her teeth. She is Shinonome, Tasogare's mother, who has stolen an heirloom sword that Teruuji is searching for. In the next scene, wearing the she-devil mask, she will attack the lovers and threaten Tasogare with the sword. The design is a tour de force of cutting and printing, particularly in the way it captures the effect of the painting peeling from the sliding panels that separate two rooms."

Quoted from: Kuniyoshi From the Arthur R. Miller Collection by Timothy Clark, p. 236. Illustrated in color on pp. 236-7.

This triptych does not represent any actual scene from the Teruuji-based novels or plays which were themselves take offs on the early Mitsuuji, Rustic Genji novels which were very loosely related to the original classic The Tale of Genji.


"The scene is probably taken from act 8 of Higashiyama sakura sōshi. The setting is a dilapidated temple where Mitsuuji and his lover, Tasogare, have taken shelter. They are surprised by the sudden appearance of Shinonome, Tasogare's mother, whose family was exterminated by the Ashikaga clan. She confesses to stealing the sword known as Kogarasumaru, the missing Ashikaga heirloom for which Mitsuuji has been searching, and approaches Mitsuuji, intending to murder him."

Quoted from Sebastian Izzard's Kunisada's World.


Use the enlargement tool so you won't miss seeing the carved wooden fish, a mokugyo, hanging from the rafters at the top of the left panel near the full moon.