Ikkei Shosai – Catching a Ribbon Fish, from Thirty-Six Comics of the Famous Places of Tokyo


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Shosai, Ikkei


(B) Fine Condition






Aiban (9″x13″)


Cityscape, Fishing, People

When I caught my first ribbon fish I think I looked and sounded just like the fisherman in this print! (if you’ve never seen or heard of one, pulling one up from the water for the first time is horrifying!)

In 1874 Hiroshige III published one of his most popular series, “Thirty-Six Views of Tokyo Civilization”; his former student Ikkei Shosai took it upon himself to parody this series with his own comical versions, “Thirty-Six Comics of the Famous Places of Tokyo”. This is a parody of the scene of one of the scenes in that series.

Rather than an idyllic scene along the harbor, here we have chaos in a rain storm; a geisha runs under her umbrella, three children fight out who gets to be in the stroller, and two fishermen scream at a ribbon fish while their lines are tangled, narrowly avoiding another person who’s yelling at them.

The Woodblock Print

The aiban-sized woodblock is in fine condition; the print has exceptional color, mostly intact margins, and a clean verso. The flaw in the print is a small hole by the older woman on the right.

About the Artist

Little is known about Ikkei Shōsai‘s life. He was a student of Utagawa Hiroshige III (1842–1894) and was active between 1860 and the late 1870s. He produced meisho-e (prints of famous places) of a radically changing Tokyo and comic scenes (giga) of Edo Life in the early Meiji Era, such as Comic Scenes of Thirty-six Famous Places in Tokyo (Tōkyō meisho sanjūroku gisen, 1871-1872). His most famous work was the series Forty-Eight Famous Views of Tokyo (Tōkyō meisho shijūhakkei, 1871).