Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Postal News: A Widower Witnesses his Wife’s Ghost Nursing Their Child, 1876. Oban.
In 1875, Yoshitoshi was hired to illustrate popular news stories as supplements to the subscribers of one of the novel newspapers in Tokyo. The Yubin hochi shinbun was founded in 1873, and these supplements carried a variety of stories that would be familiar to today’s readers of the News of the World or the National Enquirer. The subject matter then (as now) covered true stories of suicide, hauntings, murders, sexual deviance and so on. There are roughly sixty prints in total and they are an extraordinary and insightful resource into the minds, enthusiasms and preoccupations of the emerging urban culture of the time. The stories are so extraordinary and yet mundane that they deserve a new publication and some serious scholarly work to appreciate them fully. In the meantime William Wetherall's comprehensive newspaper nishiki-e site gives a very fine explanation and illustration of these fantastic documents.
The prints are quite rare - since they were designed as ephemera most have not survived - and have become collectible in recent years. In this haunting print, a widower who neglected his wife and child continues to treat the baby badly after his wife’s death and the baby becomes emaciated. One night he is visited by the ghost of the child’s mother who feeds it in front of him. As a consequence he mends his ways.
The print is in very good condition, fine edition, colour and impression.
Signed oju Taiso Yoshitoshi. Published by Kinshodo.
24cm x 35cm.