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ukiyo zoushi@•‚¢‘Žq
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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Lit. Books soushi ‘Žq of the Floating World (ukiyo •‚¢). Printed books containing illustrated prose stories which developed from the kamigata ã•û (Osaka-Kyoto) region and flourished between the 1680s and 1770s. Ukiyo zoushi reflected the culture of the townpeople chounin ’¬l, and the subject matter was their lives, romances and pursuit of pleasure. The word ukiyo had a range of associations arising from the Buddhist sense of this transient world of sorrows. In works by well-known writer Ihara Saikaku ˆäŒ´¼’ß (1642-93), this sense applied more particularly to what belonged to the present, and the varying manifestations of fleeting life in contemporary times. Saikaku also celebrated the human passion of sexual love koushoku DF in his novels, beginning with his KOUSHOKU ICHIDAI OTOKO DFˆê‘ã’j (Life of an Amorous Man ; 1682). Ukiyo zoushi came in a variety of forms and styles, but there were certain categories established by Saikaku in his major works. These included koushokumono DF•¨, amorous pieces centering around the pleasure quarters, chouninmono ’¬l•¨, which dealt with the economic lives of townsmen, and setsuwamono à˜b•¨, which included tales of curious happenings gathered from legends and folklore. A fourth category dealt with bukemono •‰Æ•¨, aspects of the lives of samurai Ž˜. At the time Saikaku was writing, popular fiction in an easily read script was referred to as *kana zoushi ‰¼–¼‘Žq, and it was not until about 1710 that the term ukiyo zoushi was mentioned as a genre. Even then, it referred to the amorous fiction earlier known as koushokubon DF–{. It was later, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), that these Edo period novels describing the tribulations of this world were called ukiyo zoushi.
The printed books generally came out in sets of five or six fascicles of hanshibon ”¼Ž†–{, that is, books made from *hanshi ”¼Ž† paper, folded in half and trimmed. The dimensions of these books could vary but were approximately 165 x 235 mm. (6 1/2 x 9 1/4").
Nishizawa Ippuu ¼‘òˆê•— (1665-1731) produced many ukiyo zoushi inspired by Saikaku as well as historical romances such as GOZEN GIKEIKI Œä‘O‹`Œo‹L (Yoshitsune's Story Told Before His Excellenc‚™ ; 1700). Ejima Kiseki ]“‡‘´â@ (1666-1735), author of KEISEI IROJAMISEN ŒXéFŽO–¡ü (The Courtesan's Amorous Shamisen ; 1701), wrote books for the important Kyoto publishing house, Hachimonjiya ”ª•¶Žš‰®. Kiseki and the bookseller Hachimonjiya Jishou ”ª•¶Žš‰®Ž©Î (d.1745) as a team produced numerous ukiyo zoushi which were known as *hachimonjiyabon ”ª•¶Žš‰®–{ and served to make the genre more popular and accessible. Kiseki also developed a type of ukiyo zoushi known as katagimono ‹CŽ¿•¨, which consisted of sketches of townspeople and their doings. Designers of the illustrations in these books included the authors themselves, such as Saikaku, as well as prominent *ukiyo-e •‚¢ŠG artists. Nishikawa Sukenobu ¼ì—SM (1671-1751), Kawashima Nobukiyo ì“‡–´ (fl.1711-36) and Yoshida Hanbee ‹g“c”¼•½‰q (fl.c. 1660-92) were well-known illustrators for these books in the kamigata region. In Edo, Hishikawa Moronobu •HìŽté (c. 1618-94), Furuyama Moroshige ŒÃŽRŽtd (fl. 1678-89), Sugimura Jihee ™‘ºŽ¡•º‰q (fl.c.1680-98), and Okumura Masanobu ‰œ‘º­M (1686-1764) all produced illustrations for ukiyo zoushi. In around 1766, however, after the deaths of Kiseki and Hachimonjiya Jishou, the Hachimonjiya publishing house in Kyoto was sold, and ukiyo zoushi as a literary form was almost extinguished, although a few books of this type continued to be produced.
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