Gusokuya edition
White publisher
Yellow carver
Yosha Bunko
Gusokuya edition
White publisher
Yellow carver
Ono Collection
Tsujibun edition
White publisher
White carver
Hagi Uragami Museum
Deep purple kimono
Rikken Collection
Kimono blue on front
. . . but purple on back
Former Yosha Bunko
Purple and blue

The kimono on most copies is a deep purple. On one copy, though, it appears blue -- but turn it over and the pigment is purple. Purples made with red and blue shift to blue as the red component fades.

Tokyo nichinichi shinbun
No. 833
   1874-10-24 (1874-10x)
Cop kills three women

Story translation (partial)

The man, a Sandaiku patrolman, fancied Oshima, Omitsu, and Otake, three beauties who pulled in trade at an archery gallery in the precincts of Shiba Daijin. He invited them to his lodging in Minanmicho in Aoyama. A feast of sake and food and the sharpening of a dull sword awaited them. As for the lives of these three girls with white teeth, at the end of the storm that night, the crimson of the boodtide, into which tears fell and scarlet leaves dripped, spread through the silent room. Nishikiori Kumakichi was arrested on the 22nd day of the 10th month of the 7th year of Meiji.

Tendendo Shujin

[Translated by William Wetherall]

Osaka nishikiga nichinichi shinbunshi, No. 30
Yosha Bunko


Supposidly the women were so crazed with jealously they implored Nishikiori to die with them.

According to the newspaper article on which this story was based (Tonichi, Issue 833, 24 October 1874, transcribed in Tsuchiya 2000), Nishikiori lopped off the heads of Omitsu and Oshima and slashed Otake to death. He fled, but was spotted trying to throw himself in a well on the property of a Mr. Ono in Kōgaimachi (Azabu), and arrested. Apparently Tonichi later reported (Issue 911, 19 January 1875) a rumor that the three women had been seen earlier in January 1875 at Kanda Myōjin (Chiba 2008, page 39).

Kanagaki Robun (1829-1894) is supposed to have written an article on this incident in Kanayomi shinbun (Sato Kenji, in Kinoshita and Yoshimi 1999, page 210). It was also featured in Osaka nishikiga nichinichi shinbunshi No. 30 (image on right), and become the theme of plays in both Osaka and Kyoto (Newspark 2001, page 43).


The newspaper article identifies Sandaiku (三大区) as Dai-sandaiku-hachishoku (第三大区八小区) -- literally "3rd large district, 8th small district". A "large district, small district" system was established in 1872 to refine the "district" system set up in 1871 to facilitate household registration. Within each "large district" were several "small districts" consisting of small towns and villages. These administrative units continued until 1878, when the county, ward, town, and village (郡区町村) system was established.

Shiba Daijin

The nishikie story has Shiba Daijin (芝太神), while the newspaper account has Shiba Shinmei (芝神明). Both refer to an area that surrounded what is now called Shiba Daijingū (芝大神宮) in Minato ward. During the Edo period, the area was a popular gathering point, about midway between the start of the Tokaido road at Nihonbashi and the first station at Shinagawa.