Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
Chapter 26 (ehon) cover from the Hokusetsu bidan jidai kagami ('Uplifting Tale of Northern Snows' Mirror of the Ages - 北雪美談時代加々見)
Japanese color woodblock print
Waseda University Library - full diptych A sumo wrestler lifts his robe decorated with masks to display his sumo apron. In his left hand he holds a placard with the artist's (Kunisada's) signature. This is the right-hand part of a diptych illustration of book covers. (See the link to the copy in the Waseda University Library showing both covers together.)
The publisher is Wakasaya Yoichi (Marks 573). The original story was written by Tamenaga Shunsui (為永春水: 1790-1843 or 44) and published between 1855-83.
There is a bit of somewhat contradictory information about the authorship of these volumes on page 222 in James King's Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers and Masterworks 1680-1900: "Wakasaya was also engaged in publishing illustrated books. In 1855, he started to produce the first volumes of the serial novel. “Northern Snows, a Gorgeous Tale and Mirror of Our Times” (Hokusetsu bidan jidai kagami), his most successful publication. Written by Tamenaga Shunshō (1822–1886), it was first illustrated by Kunisada, then by then by Kunisada II and Ginkō, the last volume appeared in 1882."
Andrew Lawrence Markus wrote in footnote #104 in The Willow in Autumn: Ryūtei Tanehiko, 1783-1842 that "Among the lavish late Edo and early Meiji serial gōkan bestsellers partially inspired by the success of Inaka Genji figure Jiraiya gōketsu monogatari (Tale of Jiraiya the hero, 1839-1868?), Shiranui monogatari (The tale of Shiranui, 1849-1883?), [Hokusetsu bidan] Jidai kagami (Uplifting tale of northern snows: Mirror of the ages; 1855-1883)..."
Wakasaya Yoichi (若狹屋与市) (publisher)
picture book (ehon - 絵本) (genre)
sumō (相撲) (genre)