Woodblock Prints of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu

By clicking on the number of any poem in the text pages of this Web edition, you will call up the corresponding woodblock print of the poem in Onna Kotobuki Ogura Shikishi (Osaka: Keio II, 1867). This is a Meiji-era edition of the Hyakunin poems designed for women, with various useful cultural material, Genji seals, origami directions, poetry, and notes on morals and etiquette. We include these images with this edition not only as a delightful version of the 100 poems and cultural artifact from the nineteenth century, but also because of the portraits of the poets. These somewhat rough-hewn woodblock prints from the latter days of the ukiyo-e age show the 100 poets in typical icongraphy. The same configurations appear and re-appear in illustrations in books and on playing cards of the Hyakunin Isshu. To see these woodblock prints, click on a poem number in the text that requires Japanese client software or in the text that does not require Japanese software.

Earlier ukiyo-e artists dedicated some of their finest efforts to the Hyakunin poems and poets. Outstanding among these was Hokusai's incomplete set of illustrations of the poems, reproduced in Peter Morse, Hokusai: One Hundred Poets (New York: Braziller, 1989). With this edition of the Hyakunin Isshu we reproduce Hokusai's print for poem number 4, "Yamabe no Akahito" (75K bytes). (See Sources for the citation of the original print in the Honolulu Academy of Arts.)

Another series is by Kuniyoshi. The most aristocratic of ukiyo-e artists, Eishi, did a woodblock print illustrating the famous Hyakunin poem by Ono no Komachi..

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