N.1 triptych of ukiyo-e woodblock prints
Year: 1888
Condition: good
Size: 71,5 x 36,5 cm



When the wealthy merchant Sano Jirozaemon (佐野次郎左衛門), during a trip to Edo (江戸), visited Yoshiwara (吉原), he fell in love with Yatsuhashi (八ツ橋), the most beautiful courtesan in the famous pleasure district. He also became her patron and was determined to buy her out. However, Yatsuhashi had a secret lover and, finally, publicly rejected the merchant who, feeling humiliated, murdered her with the haunted sword Kagotsurube (籠釣瓶), which was passed down in his family.

This fascinating triptych of woodblock prints was made by the artist Toyohara Kunichika (豊原国周) and is inspired by the theatrical adaptation of a true news story that took place in 1696, which saw the killing of dozens of women and which is remembered with the name “Yoshiwara hyakunin giri” (吉原百人斬り), that is “One hundred Yoshiwara slash”. The woman is played by the actor Nakamura Fukusuke IV (四代目中村福助), instead the role of Jirozaemon is played by Ichikawa Sadanji I (初代市川左團次).

The prints, produced in April 1888 by the publisher Fukuda Kumajiro (福田熊次郎), owner of Gusokuya (具足屋), and by the engraver Watanabe Yataro (渡辺弥太郎), despite the right signs of aging including some small holes on the right panel, are in overall good condition.