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Fuwa Bansaku (不破伴作): Wakan Hyaku Monogatari (和漢百物語) from the series 100 Ghost Stories From China and Japan

Identifier: 1856-57 Yoshitoshi funa bansaku

The text in the upper right is by Kanagaki Robun (假名垣魯文). It says:

"He was one of a trio of brave samurai of the Mori family, a young man of fierce spirit, strength and courage. With the other two heroes, Naboya and Takaki, he set out to examine mysterious ghosts at an old temple and unmasked the true character of these grotesques."

Fuwa Bansaku was the handsome page and favorite of Toyotomi Hidetsugu (1568-1595). Hidetsugu was Hideyoshi's adopted son; his perverse eccentricities (such as using passers-by for target practice and cutting open pregnant women) eventually led to a non-refusable request for his suicide. Nagoya Sanzaburō was a young retainer of Gamō Ujisato, one of Hideyoshi's generals, who tried to restrain Hidetsugu's excesses. Bansaku's rivalry with Nagoya features in the plots of several Kabuki plays.

Against a background of a broken temple wall of rocks and plaster, the young Bansaku wears a costume typical of a nimaime, a Kabuki term meaning handsome hero, including high geta and fine swords. He holds a fashionable janome, snake-eye umbrella on which is perched a grinning black monster. Bansaku is undeterred. Perhaps the apparition is weightless. Wild grasses pierce the wall and flagstones of the ruined temple."

Quoted from: Yoshitoshi's Strange Tales by John Stevenson, p. 44. Illustrated in a full-page color reproduction on page 45.


Also illustrated:

1) In color in Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Fries Collection, p. 80. In the text it is noted that Bansaku was considered on the most handsome youths or pretty boys (bishōnen - 美少年) of his age.

2) In Japanese Ghosts and Demons edited by Stephen Addiss, University of Kansas, p. 41.

3) In The Bizarre Imagery of Yoshitoshi: The Herbert R. Cole Collection by Roger Keyes, Los Angeles County Museum, 1980, #4.


The publisher is probably Daikokuya Kinnosuke, as seen in the untrimmed copy of this print in the Rijksmuseum.

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