Moral Philosophy Illustrated for Children

(Shingaku osana etoki, 心学推絵時)

Publisher: Wakasa-ya Yoichi

1842

 

The word “shingaku” in the series title refers to a form of neo-Confucianism particularly influential during the Edo period.  This series is listed as number 115 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints in this series are each about 14 by 5 inches (36 by 13 centimeters), a size known as chûtanzakuban.  For a chûban series having the same title see Moral Philosophy Illustrated for Children.

Shingaku Osana Etoki – Illustrated Moral Teachings for Young People, Elephant and a tengu, ;Don't be conceited;

 

Title: Hana kurabe

Moral lesson: Don’t be conceited

Description: An elephant catching a flying tengu in mid-air

 

NOTE: Tengu are forest-dwelling creatures that are either human-like with wings and long noses or bird-like.

 

Kuniyoshi - ' Don't be conceited', Elephant catching a flying tengu

 

Another state of the above design

Kuniyoshi - (chûtanzakuban) 'Watch your evil thoughts', Oni with umbrella begging for money

 

Title: Oni no nenbutsu

Moral lesson: However bad you may be to start with, you can work you way up if you will go about like this little folk-art creature with a subscription-list and a drum calling upon the name of Buddha

Description: An oni with umbrella disguised as a priest begging for money

 

NOTE: Oni are demons with long nails, wild hair, two horns and a fierce expression.

Ôtsu-e - Devil Disguised as a Priest

 

The above print is actually an image of a folk painting of an oni.  These traditional folk paints were sold to travelers in Ôtsu, on Lake Biwa near Kyoto.  They are known as Ôtsu-e, and this is an example of one such painting.

Kuniyoshi - (chûtanzakuban) 'Even natural enemies can be friends'

 

Title: Neko to nezumi

Moral lesson: Even natural enemies can be friends

Description: A cat and a mouse sharing a meal

Kuniyoshi - Moral Philosophy Illustrated for Children (R115), A lesson in forbearance, Kanshin

 

Title: Kanshin no matakuguri (韓信の股くぐり, The Humility of Kanshin)

Moral lesson: A lesson in forbearance

Description: Kanshin (Han Sin in Chinese) suffering the humiliation of crawling between the legs of ruffians

Kuniyoshi - Moral Philosophy Illustrated for Children (R115), If we bless the Lord and respect parents we will get  money, home and a good job', Ebisu (god of good fortune)

 

Title: Kami no megumi

Moral lesson: If we bless the Lord and respect parents we will get  money, home and a good job

Description: Ebisu, the god of good fortune

Kuniyoshi - Moral Philosophy Illustrated for Children (R115), There is no victory in fighting', Fukurokuju and Jurojin wrestling

 

Title: Daikoku to Fukurokuju no sumô

Moral lesson: There is no victory in fighting

Description: Fukurokuju (the god of wisdom with an elongated head) and Jurojin (the god of longevity) wrestling

Shingaku Osanaetoki, Lust and Desire

 

Title: Lust () and Desire () (Iro to yoku)

Moral lesson: ?

Description: Man with a balance

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Another state of the above design

Kuniyoshi - Moral Philosophy Illustrated for Children (R115), Pictures of the 8 Famous Gods (Shueki hakkei), The Cooking Pot

 

Title: Irori no nabe

Moral lesson: ?

Description: Old man cooking with a boy watching

Kuniyoshi - (chûtanzakuban) Childish Pictures for the Cultivation of the Mind (Shingaku chietoku), Shingaku masa

 

Title: No Matter What You Do Someone Will Hear and Talk (Kabe ni mimi ari)

Moral lesson: No matter what you do, somebody will hear and talk

Description: A man with a big ear and a big mouth above him

Kuniyoshi - Moral Philosophy Illustrated for Children (R115), Matter What You Do Someone Will Hear and Talk (Kabe ni mimi ari) (Alt

 

Another state of the above design

Kuniyoshi - (ôtanzakuban), comic scene with a peasant collapsing at the thought of cash personified

 

Title: Falsehood and truth (Uso to makoto)

Moral lesson: Be truthful

Description: A peasant collapsing at the thought of truth personified.  The kanji in the face of the monk-like figure in pink is makoto (), meaning truth or sincerity, and the kanji in the faces of the small figures () means falsehood.

 

Information courtesy of Dr. Gerhard Bierwirth

 

 

 

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This series of prints is unusual in that the series title, 心学推絵時, is written in different scripts—sometimes in a rectangular cartouche and sometimes without a cartouche.  Here are six examples of ways the title of this series may appear. 

 

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