YOSHIKAZU (active 1850-70)

Doke Giga (Crazy Comic Pictures)

Signed: Ichijusai Yoshikazu kiyoga
Publisher: Kinjiro
c 1858

Image - A satire about Shogun Iesada, Mito Nariaki, and the political events of 1858:

1st scene: A woman is surprised about the appearance of an octopus that is boiling in an iron pot
The octopus, boiling in an iron pot in the upper right-hand side of the picture, is Mito Nariaki, the head of the Hitotsubashi party. Agitated, he stood up for his son Yoshinobu in the conflict of succession. The woman is Iesada's mother.

2nd scene: A young samurai and two turtles are having a drinking bout
The young Urashima in the second scene, who is having a drinking bout with two turtles (he is recognizable through these animals), is in fact Tokugawa Yoshitomi of the Nanki party.

3rd scene: A scarecrow in a wintery paddy field is aiming at something with bow and arrow; two men are fleeing.
The American ambassador, Harris, is the scarecrow (in winter, after the harvest a scarecrow has no use and the commercial trade treaty with Japan was considered useless. He is after the 2 men to get him an audience in Edo castle (which he will ultimately get).

4th scene: The thunder good Kaminari grabs a bathing woman by the leg.
Harris, represented as a demon or as the thunder god Kaminari, is finally granted an audience at Edo Castle on the 21st day of the 10th month. The Japanese expression kichiku bei-ei means that Americans and Englishmen are demons and beasts. After Shogun Iesada pronounces that commercial tgreaties are no longer avoidable.

5th scene: A giant rat throws up the oil it had swallowed and two men are fighting with the it.
The huge rat represents the 88 noble at the emperors court, Hotta Masayoshi, then chancellor of the shogun, applied for the emperor’s consent to finalize the commercial treaty with America. At first, the nobles assured their support, but on the 12th day of the 3rd month, all of them neglected the treaty, because of the emperor’s order of disaffirmation. The huge rat swallows the oil from the lamp that had fallen down, which symbolizes the shogunate's bribe accepted by the nobles. Afterwards, the rat throws the oil up again, which hints at the noble's refusal.

6th scene: An exhausted man is being carried in a sedan chair.
The exhausted Hotta leaves Kyoto in a sedan chair on the 5th day of the 4th month without the desired permission.

7th scene: A traveler is startled by a man with a big basket on his head who turns to him.
In the seventh scene a man wearing a big basket on his head is presenting himself to another man and pointing at him with a noh fan. It is Ii Naosuke, recognizable through the big basket (dairo) hinting at his position as the highest ranking chancellor (tairo). On the 23rd day of the 4th month, he was suddenly appointed High Chancellor on order of Shogun Iesada and through the unofficial intervention of the Nanki party. Before he started his career, he spent his time with Zen and fine arts such as noh theater or the tea ceremony. Therefore, the second distinctive feature of Ii Naosuke in this scene is the noh fan. The startled man is Chancellor Hotta Masayoshi, who had just returned from his long journey to the emperor’s court in Kyoto. He is shocked to suddenly find a superior at his return to Edo


Good impression and colors. Light creasing and soil.
It is very rare to find, as it was illegal to depict, political cartoons at this time in Japan.


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