Almanac of news nishikie and related topics
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Other nishikie

The line between "news" and "non-news" is not always clear. Numerous nishikie were published in a timely manner to show in images, if not also narrate in text, something that was "new" at the time.

Some of the more interesting quasi news nishikie are listed here. They are mostly series that were intended to instruct or inform while entertaining. Some were newspaper supplements. Others were sold at print and book shops.

Kinsei jinsei shi, a supplement rather than a news-related nishikie, is introduced here, partly because it figures in the history of news nishikie and related newspapers, but also because the prints in this series featured personalities who were either in the new or recently in the news at the time they were published.

A few other non-news nishikie series are introduced here, mostly because some prints in the series tie-in with the rise and fall of news nishikie.

Eimei nijuhasshuku
Eimei nijuhasshuku
Twenty-eight plebeian verses about glorious figures
Bloody encounters by notorious historical and legendary figures
Drawn by Yoshitoshi and Yoshiiku.
Written by various writers, including Sansantei Arindo.
Published by Kinseido.

This series was published in 1866 and 1867.

See Eimei Nijuhasshuku for further details.


Eimei nijuhasshuku table
There are 28 prints in this series, half by Yoshitoshi, half by Yoshiiku.
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
Shirai 1866 Serial murder Shirai Gonpachi is said to have murdered over 130 people before he was executed in 1679.
Tenbo 1866 Murder Ten'ichibo killed an old woman to steal a document and sword which would prove that he was a Tokugawa heir. For this he was beheaded in 1727.


Kinsei jinbutsu shi -- Yamato shinbun furoku
近世人物誌 -- やまと新聞付録
Kinsei jinbutsu shi -- Yamato shinbun furoku
Accounts of recent-age personalities -- Yamato news supplement
Shinbun furoku (newspaper supplement)
Last major newspaper nishikie supplement

Drawn by Yoshitoshi.
Carved by Enkatsu, Yamamoto, and others.
Published by Yamato Shinbun Sha.
Office at Kyobashi-ku, Owaricho 2-1.
Distributed free to monthly subscribers. (Tsuchiya 1995:24)
1886-10-12 First supplement -- No. 1.
1888-5-25 Last supplement -- No. 20.

The Kinsei jinbutsu shi consists of a series of twenty nishikie that Yoshitoshi drew as supplements for the daily Yamato shinbun. The supplements were published once a month, and in addition to their number in the series, they bore the issue number and date of the paper they were distributed with. See below for all a list of all the prints in the series, with their numbers, dates, and titles.

The Kinsei jinbutsu shi prints are not news nishikie. They differ in a number of ways from the Tonichi and Hochi nishikie and their Osaka counterparts. They were planned from the start as newspaper supplements and were published regularly. They did not focus on news events but on a broad spectrum of influential early Meiji male and female news makers, most deceased, a few still living. And while news nishikie were sold like other woodblock prints and books, the supplements were distributed to readers who subscribed to the paper by the month. (Tsuchiya 1995:24)

The Kinsei jinbutsu shi supplements also differ from news nishikie in that, whereas news nishikie featured on-scene illustrations and written accounts of an incident that had been reported in the news, the supplements presented graphic portraits and narrative profiles of famous people.

The lives of a some of the people chosen for the series were fraught with conflict and a few ended in violence. Some supplements show or hint at the trauma. Most, though, capture tragic heroes in moments of quietude.

Who chose the personalities to feature in the series? Jono? Nishida? Or Yoshitoshi himself?

The series reflects a certain nostalgia for recent times, barely a decade or two earlier, when Japan was not as stable as it had become by the late 1880s. As both witnesses and participants, Jono and Yoshitoshi were undoubtedly keen observers of the feats and failures of the men and women who figured in the uncertainties and changes.

As an analogy, imagine a writer like Ishihara Shintaro founding a newspaper, and commissioning a drawer like Yokoo Tadanori to produce a series of caricatures of historical figures both men respected for their thoughts and actions. An odd couple, you might say, but apart from that, who would they choose? Nogi Maresuke and Mishima Yukio? Matsui Sumako and Abe Sada? How would Yoshitoshi have depicted such personalities in a latter-day version of Kinsei jinbutsu shi?

For a good introduction to seven of the Kinsei jinbutsu shi prints, see Cathrine E. Lowther's Yoshitoshi Tsukioka: The Lives of Modern People, 1887-1988 -- though the series began from 1886.


Kinsei jinbutsu shi -- Yamato shinbun furoku table
There are 20 issues in the Kinsei jinbutsu shi (Accounts of recent-age personalities) series. (Ono Collection)
Issue Date Seal Themes Personality, summary, and comments
1 2 1886-10-12 Tensho Inden
2 23 1886-11-6 Nakamura Shikan's wife
3 52 1886-12-11 Isobayashi Taii
4 92 1887-1-30 Tokugawa Yohimegimi
5 109 1887-2-20 Eto Shinpei
6 139 1887-3-29 Kinbei Daikoku's courtesan Imamurasaki
7 167 1887-4-30 Sumo wrester Mumegaya Totaro
8 187 1887-5-24 General Nanigashi's mistress
9 210 1887-6-19 Danjuro Fukusuke Ryoyu's haiku
10 236 1887-7-20 Nishigori Takekiyo
11 263 1887-8-20 Nanai Omume [killing Kamekichi]
12 293 1887-9-25 Bando Hikosaburo V
13 311 1887-10-16 Egawa Tarozaemon
14 333 1887-11-13 The Konoe family's old woman Muraoka
15 357 1887-12-13 Kido Suiko Inden
16 386 1888-1-20 Takeda Kounsai's other woman Tokiko
17 414 1888-2-24 Saigo Takamori
18 438 1888-3-24 Kawase Sore's wife
19 464 1888-4-25 Tomobayashi Rokuro Mitsuhira
20 490 1888-5-25 Tokugawa Keikiko Gorenchu


Kyodo risshi no motoi
Kyodo risshi no motoi
Foundations of learning and achievement
Inspirational nishikie
Featured people deemed to be models of education and success
Drawn by various drawers.
Published by Matsuki Heikichi.
This series ran between 1886 and 1890 and featured a long list of heroes and heroines, from antiquity to contemporary times who were regarded as standards of moral leadership and self-realization.


Kyodo risshi no motoi table
There are about fifty prints in this series.
Issue Date Seal Themes Title, summary, and comments
45 c1885 Civil war, Journalism Fukuchi Gen'ichiro. Fukuchi takes field notes in wake of raging battle as war correspondent during Satsuma rebellion.