Almanac of news nishikie and related topics
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News nishikie

About forty different series of news nishikie were published in the decade or so after the first prints of Tokyo nichinichi shinbun hit the streets of Tokyo and other cities in the late spring or early summer of 1874. Only varieties represented on this website are included here.

Tokyo news nishikie

Most Tokyo news nishikie were affiliated with newspapers. The papers came first, the nishikie later.

How closely Tokyo's "newspaper nishikie" were affiliated with their namesake papers is difficult to say -- "namesake" rather than "parent" because, despite their apparent affiliations, the nishikie were the province of woodblock publishers, not the newspaper companies.

The idea to produce a nishikie edition of stories selected from Tokyo nichinichi shinbun may have come from the publisher Gusokuya, not withstanding the fact that Ochiai Yoshiiku and Jono Denpei, its drawer and one of its principle writers, were not only employees but founders of the namesake paper. As entrepreneurs, they would certainly have recognized the publicity value of a nishikie bearing their paper's name. Yet they were more than businessmen.

While formally employed at Nipposha, the company set up to publish Tonichi, both Yoshiiku and Jono had creative appetites that could not be satisfied by their routine work at the newspaper. Ono Hideo observes that, during the first two years after launching Tonichi, Yoshiiku and Jono were too busy to engage in their "primary professions" (honshoku), meaning their callings as drawer and writer. He bases this perception on the content of the inaugural issue of the Tokyo nichinichi shinbun nishikie, which alludes to how anxious Yoshiiku is to spend less time operating a letter press and more time enlightening people with his drawings of stories narrated by writers like Jono. (Ono 1972:8-9).

Whoever came up with the idea for a nishikie edition of news, the publication of news nishikie probably did more to extend the lives of the publishers, drawers, carvers, printers, distributors, and sellers of woodblock prints -- all of whom must have worried their industry was facing extinction -- than they did to promote their namesake papers.

Whether a news nishikie bore the name of a newspaper (Tokyo pattern) or not (Osaka pattern), news nishikie were products of woodblock publishers who distributed them through their own and other ezoshiya (picture-book shops). And both affiliated and independent news nishikie disappeared as quickly as they came. Most of the newspapers, too, either didn't survive, were absorved by other papers, or underwent radical makeovers.

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Kakushu shinbun zukai no uchi
ŠeŽíV•·}‰ð‚Ì“à
Kakushu shinbun zukai no uchi
Inside the graphics of various newpapers
News nishikie (nyuusu nishikie)
Tokyo news nishikie featuring stories from various newspapers

Drawn by Sensai Eitaku (Kobayashi Eitaku).
Written by Tentendo Dondon (Takabatake Ransen).
Published by Kaieido.
Tokyo news nishikie based on stories from Enkin shinbun, Kyokai shinbun, Nisshin shinji shi, Tokyo nichinichi shinbun, Yokohama shinbun, and Yubin hochi shinbun.

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Kakushu shinbun zukai no uchi table
Tsuchiya lists 9 issues from 1 to 14, minus 2, 4, 7, 9, and 11. (Tsuchiya 1995:ix)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
6 ES-27 1874-11 Civil unrest The wife of a Shogitai warrior finds her husband's body after Ueno Hill Battle.
14 YHS-598 a1875-2 Suicide A sumo wrestler pulls a man off the railing of Ryogokubashi in Tokyo.

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Tokyo nichinichi shinbun
“Œ‹ž“úXV•·
Tokyo nichinichi shinbun
Tokyo daily news
News nishikie (nyuusu nishikie)
Tokyo news nishikie based on stories from Tokyo nichinichi shinbun
First news nishikie
Started by Ochiai Yoshiiku, Takabatake Ransen, Jono Denpei, four other writers, and Gusokuya.
Drawn by Yoshiiku.
Written mostly by Tentendo (Takabatake) followed by Sansantei Arindo (Jono).
Published by Gusokuya. Some issues republished by Tsujibun.
Printshop on Ningyocho dori.

Price -- 1 sen 6 rin (0.016 yen) per print.
1874-8 First datable Gusokuya prints.
1875-8 Last datable Gusokuya prints.
Last prints done by Yoshiiku.
1876-9
1876-11
1876-12
Last prints published by Fukuda Kumajiro (Gusokuya).
None of these prints were designed by Yoshiiku.
None of the stories were by Yoshiiku's writers.
These are the last news nishikie to fly the Tonichi banner,
though strickly speaking they are not part of the original
Tonichi news nishikie series.
1874-1875 Several take-offs drawn by Yoshifuji were published as Tokyo nichinichi shinwa.

Founding

Image

Ono Hideo, an reporter for Tokyo nichinichi shinbun before he became a scholar of journalism history and a collector and illuminator of news nishikie, notes that no records pertaining to its namesake nishikie remain in the company's archives, and that neither Jono nor Yoshiiku wrote anything about the origin of Tonichi's news nishikie. His only comments about its origins are gleaned from the inaugural edition which promoted what was to come.

Though the news nishikie known as Tokyo nichinichi shinbun bears the masthead of its newspaper namesake, it was a product of Gusokuya, a woodblock publisher. The idea to publish nishikie versions of Tonichi stories most likely germinated in the relaltionship between Jono the writer, Yoshiiku the drawer, and the publisher Gusokuya Kahee.

As a hanmoto (woodblock publisher), Gusokuya would have overseen the whole operation, from the choosing of a story to the drawing and writing, the showing of drafts to officials for permission to publish, the carving and printing, and finally the distribution to the wholesalers and shops, including some he may have owned, which sold woodblock prints, books, and other publications.

Hanmoto were like publishing companies today. They hired the craftsmen, and cut deals with popular drawers and writers. Though employed Yoshiiku, Sansantei Arindo, and Tentendo were employed by Tonichi, they were also free-lancers.

Takahashi Katsuhiko, after describing the the dynamics of the networking that went on within the woodblock publishers world, made this observation about the likelhood of the birth of news nishikie had the matter been left people outside this cozy and creative world (Takahashi 1992a:36-37):

Had [those who made the decision] been economy types (keizaijin), who differentiated themselves from the world in they [Jono, Yoshiiku, and Nishida others] lived alongside the hanmoto [publishers], those incredible flowers called newspaper nishikie may never have bloomed."

Takahashi, a novelist and art historian, knows that artistic creativity lies on the "culture type" side of the great divide.


Demise

News nishiki did not last long. The main rush was over in a couple of years. The last Tonichi nishikie was published at the end of 1875. The last one by Yoshiiku and Tentendo, who had gradually become the primary writer, replacing Sansantei Arindo (undoubtedly busy in his Jono Denpei personna), appeared in August.

The demise of Tonichi's nishikie was probably hastened by the fact that, in April 1874, Yoshiiku launched a paper called Kanayomi eiri shinbun, with Takabatake (Tentendo) as editor. The new paper was directed at people who needed help reading kanji, and as it became more popular, the two men must have become too busy to put out the nishikie.

Other things must have been going on that motivated Takabatake to leave Tonichi at the end of the year and join Yomiuri shinbun, which also aimed at kanji-challenged readers.

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Tokyo nichinichi shinbun table

See Tokyo nichinichi shinbun (TNS) gallery for a table of data on the prints in this series.

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Tokyo nichinichi shinwa
“Œ‹ž“úXV˜b
Tokyo nichinichi shinwa
Tokyo daily new stories

These news nishikie were crude copies of Tonichi nishikie drawn by Yoshifuji. The banners and cupids were a bit larger and didn't show an issue number. Thicker lines were used to draw the figures, and a lot of the foreground and background details were omitted. The texts were playful rewrites, in cursive hiragana, of the stories on Yoshiiku's versions.

The "wa" is my tentative interpretation of a kanji written as kuchihen (Œû) plus shita (ã), a popular abbreviation of "wa" (˜b), simplifying gonben (Œ¾) to kuchihen (Œû). If just "wa" it would be "hanashi" (story, tale, talk). The same kanji, though, was sometimes used abbreviate "shi" (är), meaning "neburu" or "nameru" (put down). Even if "shi" (put down) was intended as a possible graphic pun (signifying that the crude reproductions were intended as a put-down), "wa" would have been the expected and familiar reading, since "shinwa" (V˜b) was commonly used in the names of news nishikie and other publications, and there is no foundation for "shinshi" (Vär). (WW)

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Tokyo nichinichi shinwa table
There are roughly a dozen issues of these nishikie, which are take-offs on Tokyo nichinichi shinbun nishikie. All issues are unnumbered and appear to be undated.
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
656 Civil war Eto Shinpei shortly before his arrest and execution after defeat in Saga Rebellion.

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Yubin hochi shinbun
—X•Ö•ñ’mV•·
Yubin hochi shinbun
Postal dispatch news
News nishikie (Nyuusu nishikie)
Osaka news nishikie based on stories from Yubin hochi shinbun

Drawn by Yoshitoshi.
Published by Kinshodo (Ebisuya Kinshodo Kumagaya Shoshichi), a middle-sized picture-book dealer (ezoshiya).

Founding

Image

Unlike the Tokyo nichinichi shinbun nishikie, whose drawers and major writers were affiliated with it's namesake newspaper, there is no evidence of any direct exchange between the Yubin hochi shinbun nishikie and its namesake paper (Tsuchiya 1995:26).

Ono says bluntly that "Yoshiiku was a manager of Tokyo nichinichi but Yoshitoshi had no connection whatever with Yubin hochi shinbun, and merely drew nishikie in response to requests of Kinshodo [Kinshodo no motome ni ojite]" (Ono 1972:10).

See articles in the Articles section, and entries in the Media and Galleries sections, for other details about the YHS news nishikie series.

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Yubin hochi shinbun table

See Yubin hochi shinbun (YHS) gallery for a table of data on the prints in this series.

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Osaka news nishikie

See Osaka News Nishikie under Articles for an overview of the Osaka genre of news nishikie.

(Kankyo) Kanzen choaku nishikiga zukai / shinbun
(Š¯‹–jŠ©‘P’¦ˆ«‹Ñ‰æV•·^}‰ð
(Kankyo) Kanzen choaku nishikiga shinbun / zukai
(Government-permitted) Nishikie newspaper / illustrations encouraging good and punishing evil

"Kankyo" (government-permitted, licensed)" designation dropped from later issues. Earlier issues are called "shinbun" (news), later issues are called "zukai" (illustrations). Tsuchiya says the title changed from "Kankyo kanzen choaku nishikiga shinbun" to "Kanzen choaku nishikiga zukai" from No. 38, but No. 32 on this website already has "zukai", and No. 43 still has "kankyo", so the story on the title change is not complete. (1995:46, 48)

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(Kankyo) Kanzen choaku nishikiga shinbun / zukai table
Tsuchiya lists 48 issues from 1 to 48 with no omissions. (Tsuchiya 1995:xx-xxi)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
20 a1875-6-3 Double suicide An officer saves a couple he spots jumping off a bridge in Osaka. The same story is reported in Shinbun zue No. 20.
32 a1875-6-15 Suicide A man restrains a man and woman who are trying to throw themselves off a bridge in Osaka.
43 a1875-8-3 Suicide A reluctant bride suffers at the railings of a bridge in Osaka.

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Nichinichi shinbun
“úXV•·
Nichinichi shinbun
Daily news

Features cherub-borne vertical banner on left side. Drawn by Hasegawa Sadanobu II. A few stories are retold from articles in Tokyo nichinichi shinbun, Yomiuri shinbun, and Yubin hochi shinbun by various writers. Variously published by Fujisei, Kinsei, and Yaozen. (Tsuchiya 1995:42)

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Nichinichi shinbun table
Tsuchiya lists 32 issues, including 27 issues numbered from 5 to 37 (some numbers omitted, some with two different stories) and 5 unnumbered issues. (Tsuchiya 1995:xiv-xv)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
6 c1875 Suicide

A sick mother drowns herself, and her daughter attempts to follow her but is rescued. The same story is reported in Osaka Nichinichi Shinbun No. 254.

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Osaka nichinichi shinbun
‘åã“úXV•·
Osaka nichinichi shinbun
Osaka daily news

Features horizontal cherub-borne banner almost exactly like that of the Tokyo nichinichi shinbun nishikie. Drawn by Shigehiro, written by Ryuo (one known print is signed as Ryuo Gaishi), and published by Senden. Shigehiro and Ryuo teamed in the production of other story nishikie, like Toad Eats Snake, which tells a story dated Keio 4-6-28 (16 August 1868). Shigehiro and Ryuo may have been one and the same person. (Tsuchiya 1995:41-42)

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Osaka nichinichi shinbun table
Tsuchiya lists 8 numbered issues from 230 to 310, and 3 unnumbered issues, which have only "Meiji 8" (M 8) on the banner. (Tsuchiya 1995:xiii)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
254 a1874-12-27 Suicide A sick mother drowns herself, and her daughter attempts to follow her but is rescued. The same story is reported in Nichinichi Shinbun No. 6.
M 8 a1875-4-15 Murder-suicide A woman kills her husband's lover, serves him lover's vulva as sashimi, then kills herself.

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Osaka nichinichi shinbunshi
‘åã“úXV•·Ž†
Osaka nichinichi shinbunshi
Osaka daily newspaper

Features a vertical cherub-borne banner in upper-right corner. Retold stories mostly from Yubin hochi shinbun, but sometimes from Yomiuri shinbun, and at least once from Tokyo nichinichi shinbun. Co-published by Kinki and Fujisei, then the largest ezoshiya in Osaka. Hasegawa Sadanobu II drew the pictures and wrote most of the stories. (Tsuchiya 1995:42)

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Osaka nichinichi shinbunshi table
There seem to be at least 27 issues. Tsuchiya lists 26, including 22 numbered (two numbers omitted, one with two different stories) and 4 unnumbered. There also seems to be a number 36. (Tsuchiya 1995:xiii)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
21 YS-91 a1875-3 Children A 12-year-old girl gives birth to a baby fathered by a 16 year-old-boy.

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Meiji 8-nen Osaka nishikiga shinbun
–¾Ž¡‚W”N ‘åã‹Ñ‰æV•·
Meiji 8-nen Osaka nishikiga shinbun
1875 Osaka nishikiga news

Title cartouches are red-and-white flags of various designs. Alternatively published by Awabun and Sekiwa.

Awabun editions have series of light blue "bun" (•¶) characters running across a white band in middle of flag. Sekiwa has series of red circles across white band. (Tsuchiya 1995:40-41)

Many editions, however, do not have such marks, and the flag designs somewhat vary.

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Meiji 8-nen Osaka nishikiga shinbun table
Tsuchiya lists 25 issues, including all from 1 to 24, and one unnumbered. (Tsuchiya 1995:xi)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
7 1875 Torture A man tortures his wife with a heated iron. The same story is reported in Osaka nishikie shinwa No. 36.
8 a1875-3-6 Double suicide An Osaka couple walk half way across a small bridge on the Yodo river, undress, and leap into the water.
14 1875 Suicide A 17-year-old girl jumps from a bridge and drowns.

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Osaka nishikiga / e shinwa
‘åã‹Ñ‰æ^ŠGV˜b
Osaka nishikiga / e shinwa
Osaka nishikiga / e new stories

This group includes nishikiga (‹Ñ‰æ) and nishikie (‹ÑŠG) varieties. The former was also probably read "nishikie".

Some issues in the following table are also known to have been published as Osaka nishikie shinbun. The prints are identical except for the wa (˜b) and the bun (•·).

Features a cherub-borne banner in the upper-right corner. Most are published by Awabun, a few by Sekiwa. Drawn by Sadanobu II, Sasaki Yoshitaki, and Kinoshita Hironobu II. Written by Yoshitaki and Daisuido Risho (Hasegawa Sadanobu II). (Tsuchiya 1995:41)

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Osaka nishikiga / e shinwa table
Tsuchiya lists 18 issues, numbered from 1 to 49 with numerous omissions, and one unnumbered. Both nishikiga and nishikie varities are listed here.(Tsuchiya 1995:xvii)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
10 YS-85 c1875 Family A grandmother has breast milk for a grandchild whose mother has died. This print is a nishikiga variety.
36 c1875 Torture A man tortures his wife with a heated iron. This print is a nishikie variety. The identical print was also published under the banner Osaka nishikie shinbun (Tsuchiya 1995:83). The same story is reported in Osaka nishikiga shinbun No. 7.

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Shinbun zue
V•·}‰ï
Shinbun zue
News images
Features vertical cherub-borne banner on right side. Drawn by Hasegawa Sadanobu II, Sasaki Yoshitaki, Yoshimitsu, and Suzuki Sessai (Suzuki Toshimoto), Ryuo Shigehiro, and others. Published by Yaozen. (Tsuchiya 1995:42, 44)

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Shinbun zue table
Tsuchiya lists 40 issues from 1 to 42, sans 4, 5, and 41, and two 39s. (Tsuchiya 1995:xv-xvi)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
20 a1875-6-5 Double suicide A man and woman who have jumped off a bridge are rescued by and officer and resuscitated. The same story is reported in Kyokai kanzen choaku nishikiga shinbun No. 20.

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Yubin hochi shinbun nishikiga
—X•Ö•ñ’mV•·‹Ñ‰æ
Yubin hochi shinbun nishikiga
Postal dispatch news nishikie
News nishikie (nyuusu nishikie)
Osaka nishikie based on Yubin hochi shinbun stories

Drawn by Hasegawa Sadanobu II.
Forthcoming.

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Yubin hochi shinbun nishikiga table
Tsuchiya lists 16 issues from 1 to 16, including 6a and 6b but no 14. (Tsuchiya 1995:xvi)
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
2 c1875 Suicide Boatmen rescue a grandmother who threw herself and her childchild into a canal.
8 c1875 Suicide A policeman stops a mother from killing her child and herself.
9 c1875-6 c1875 Suicide A man kills his wife, who he suspects has been having an affair, and then himself. The same story is reported in Tokyo nichinichi shinbun No. 1047.
11 c1875 Nudity Officer warns a geisha not to expose herself in public. The same story is reported in Yubin hochi shinbun No. 702.
13 c1875 Theft A prostitute steals money from a man she has lulled to sleep.

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Other news nishikie

A few news nishikie were printed in Yokohama, Kyoto, Kagoshima, and a few other places other than Tokyo and Osaka.

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Kagoshima shinbun
Ž­Ž™“‡V•·
Kagoshima shinbun
Kagoshima news
Forthcoming.

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Kagoshima shinbun table
There are a several issues of this nishikie, all published in Tokyo. They were drawn by different drawers and published by different publishing houses.
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
NnK 1887-10 Civil war Nipposha no Koei. Fukuchi Gen'ichiro reports his observations of Satsuma war to Emperior Meiji.

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