An image of Lunacy - unrolling letters

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

(Japan 1839 – 1892)

Lunacy - unrolling letters, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon

Location
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

Undoubtedly one of the most poignant stories and designs in this series. The protagonist is Ochiyo, who served as a maid in Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s household. One day, Ochiyo received news of her lover’s death. She went mad with grief and wandered around the capital, unrolling and rolling the letters he had sent her until she, too, died of exhaustion. Ochiyo is seen here walking across a bridge, tossing her lover’s letter in the air. The paper scroll, now in tatters after being read over and over, forms a circle that replaces the absent moon.

Place of origin
Japan
Period
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
Year
1889
Media
Print
Medium
colour woodblock; ōban
Dimensions
39.0 x 26.0 cm
Signature & date

Signed and dated.

Credit
Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2012
Accession number
258.2012.77