Artist: Takane Kōji (高根宏治)

Print: Lesser cuckoo (Hototogisu - 杜鵑)

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Dates: 1930s,created
Dimensions: 10.5 in,15.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed in print: Kōji (宏治)
Signed in left margin: Takane Kōji hitsu
Publisher: Daireisha (Marks U034)

Related links: Honolulu Museum of Art;

Physical description:

Half-length portrait of a bijin against a paper lantern adjusting her hair-pin and hearing the distant call of a Cuckoo.

The carver was Maeda Kentarō. The printer was Ono Hikatarō.


The Lesser Cuckoo (Cuculus poliocephalus) is called hototogisu. It was frequently praised for its songs and poems. Sei Shonagon wrote about it in her account of court life in Heian Japan, the Pillow Book. It is also a pivotal image in poem 81 of the Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology.

"...the cultural significance of the cuckoo in relation to the arrival of summer in Britain is just as significant as the role of the hotogisu in Japan, and just as alive today."

Quoted from the review by Richard Bowring of Haruo Shirhane's book Japan and the Culture of the Seasons... in the Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 39, #2, p. 428.