Waterfall-striped Materials in Answer to Earnest Prayer

(Daigwan jôju ari-ga-taki-jima, 大願成就有ヶ瀧縞)

Publisher: Iba-ya Sensaburô

c. 1845


This series consists of ten half-length portraits of beautiful women (bijin) wearing striped kimono.  Each print has a poem and an inset picture of a waterfall.  This series is listed as number 111 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.  Many bear the seal of the woodblock carver Horikô Fusajirô (彫工房次郎).  I am grateful to Robert Pryor for his contributions to this section.



Beauty: A woman holding a ring of ground cherries (hozuki) in her left hand and a fan in her right

Inset: Endô Musha Moritô, who became the monk Mongaku Shonin, doing penance under the Nachi Waterfall after having killed his beloved

Schaap: 7.1

Text: 宝市亭 にくまれしあつさの悪をぬきかへて こゝろすゝしき那智の滝しま


Keyblock print of the above design


Beauty: A female court attendant making oshi-e (raised patchwork) next to a hibachi

Inset: Tamaehime trying to free the captured god of rain in order to end a drought

Schaap: 7.2

Text: 春屋香一 箸さしのかたちも雨を封し文 男ひてりの奥の手すさみ


Another state of the above design


Beauty: A pensive girl leaning on an armrest contemplating a tied scroll

Inset: Seigen at Otowa Falls Schaap: 7.3

Text: 宝珠亭船唄 葉さくらに花の梢も青坊主 ちらすはをしき春の山風


Another state without any purple



Beauty: A woman drying her back with a towel under a loosely draped gauze kimono with a rack of dried gourd strips above her head

Inset: Taira Kiyomori ( 1118-1181) in a thunderstorm in front of the Nunobiki Waterfall

Schaap: 7.4

Text: 梅屋 夕立の雷ほしの滝津瀬に 背中の汗を拭ふ布引


Another state of the above print with different colors


Beauty: A woman passing through a bamboo noren (shop curtain) thus creating an image that mirrors that of the waterfall in the inset

Inset: Hatsuhana praying under the waterfall at Hakone for the recovery of her crippled husband Iinuma Katsugorô

Schaap: 7.5

Text: 柳下亭種員 かかけたる軒の簾の箱根竹 ひやりとあたる糸の滝口


Keyblock print of the above design


Beauty: Kikujidô, having just washed her hair, is holding a box of chrysanthemum-shaped mochi (rice cakes).  The chrysanthemum is also seen on her kimono.

Inset: Kikujidô, the chrysanthemum boy

Schaap: 7.6

Text: 勢州荻の屋 かつしきの枕を越ていがもちの 菊うつくしき妹かたきしま


Another state with a differently colored kimono


Beauty: A praying woman holding an umbrella under her right arm

Inset: Hakoomaru (箱王丸), the younger of the Soga brothers, at Hakone

Schaap: 7.7

Text: さゝげつゝ取し御鬮の箱王に 何十番もよしのうしつ絵 重乃屋光雄


Beauty: A woman washing herself while sitting with her left hand in a tub of water

Inset: Kyoyű washing his ears of worldly offers in the Ei River

Schaap: 7.8

Text: 耳洗ふ雪消の水のおしろいに かたき岩をも砕く瀧しま 老松


Beauty: A woman holding a water-spraying toy in her left hand, restraining a child on her lap who reaches for it.  Her obi is decorated with dragons

Inset: Matsunage Taisen with the famous sword Kizui, an heirloom of Yukimura

Schaap: 7.9

Text: 加茂の屋清記 処女子か唄のけいこの松永に しのふひたいの不尽の雪姫


Beauty: A woman with outstretched hands grasping a koto covered with a piece of cloth

Inset: Kintarô wrestling with a giant carp

Schaap: 7.10

Text: 勢州五瀬乃屋 かゝへたる琴もまきゑの金太郎 岩こす浪や糸のたきつせ


Another state of the above design


This is a final drawing (hanshita-e) for the above print

This is a key block print for the same design.  It is an impression pulled from the first woodblock made by a carver from the artist’s original drawing.  The artist would write instructions for each color on a separate key block print, and the woodblock for each color was cut using one of these as a guide.  Registration marks (kento) are characteristically found on Japanese key block prints, although not seen on this example.  Kento are cut in each woodblock, so that the paper can be properly aligned on each woodblock during printing.  In addition to being a guide for carving the color woodblocks, the key block was also used to apply black ink (usually) in the printing process.


Schaap” refers to listing in Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi by Robert Schaap (Hotei Publishing, Leiden, 1998).