Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Two book covers, ebyōshi (絵表紙) forming a diptych of
The Heroic Tales of Jiraiya (Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari - 児雷也豪傑物語), Chapter 36

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Dates: 1841 - 1865,created
Dimensions: 9.25 in,6.875 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed on the left cover: (something) Toyokuni ga (??豊国画)

Related links: Waseda University - full volume illustrations; Waseda University - right-hand cover; Waseda University - left-hand cover; Lyon Collection - Yoshitaki painting of Tenjiku Tokubei;Lyon Collection - Toyokuni III print of Tenjiku Tokubei;Lyon Collection - Toyokuni III triptych with a Tenjiku Tokubei theme;

Physical description:

Jiraiya is killing huge snake. Behind him is a sorcerer, possibly Tenjiku Tokubei, atop a giant origami toad.

This diptych is from a 43 volume set of illustrated books (kusazōshi). It bears the signatures of both Kuniyoshi and Toyokuni III (Kunisada). The characters within circles, 下 and 上 are the characters for “the second volume” and “the first volume”, respectively.


Six different Utagawa artists took part in illustrating this series of ehon published over about 25 years. They were Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, Kuniteru, Kunimori, Yoshifusa and Yoshiiku. The only non-Utagawa artist was Ikeda Eisen.

There are two red cartouches in the upper right of the left-hand cover, the one with the magician standing on the origami toad. The cartouche on the left reads: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga (一勇斎国芳画).

The cartouche to the right of that first cartouche gives the author's name: Ryūtei Tanehiko (柳下亭種員: 1807-1858).