Shin Hanga prints

  Design: Okada Yoshio (1934-2021)  
  Title: Hotaru  
  Series title: Genji emaki (Picture scroll of Genji)  
  Size: 31.9 x 28.9 cm (ōban)  
  Original woodblock print    
  Photography: Jacques Commandeur
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Okada Yoshio Hotaru


Published by Yūyūdō in 1978 or 1979.

Red seal reading Yoshi in lower left area and bottom right margin of the print.

Names of the carver, printer, and paper maker in bottom margin of the print:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
ho(ru) carve  
ki(ku) work Carver:
mae before  
ta rice field  
ken sign of the tiger  
ta fat  
counter for sons Maeda Kentarō
su(ru) rub  
satsu print Printer:
ue upper  
sugi Japanese cedar  
kei Japanese Judas-tree  
ichi one  
husband Uesugi Keiichirō
shō extract  
shi paper Paper maker:
sa assistant  
ki wood  
hajime one Sasaki Hajime

Yūyūdō publisher seal in lower left margin of the print.

The kanji 蛍 (i.e., Hotaru, firefly) is written in pencil on the verso of the print.

The direct inspiration for the Hotaru woodblock print was the following Okada Yoshio illustration issued in the Shūkan Asahi magazine (click to enlarge):

Okada Yoshio Shukan Asahi Hotaru

The latter illustration was again based on this water colour painting of Okada Yoshio (click to enlarge):

Okada Yoshio Hotaru Water Colour Painting

which can be found on pages 104-105 of this book.

The two people shown in this print are a young princess called Tamakazura, and Genji’s elder brother Hotaru Hyōbukyō no Miya. This print is thus not only named after the corresponding Genji monogatari chapter, but also after the name of Genji’s elder brother, and after the fireflies suddenly released to unveil Tamakazura’s beautiful appearance (the fireflies were actually released by Genji who - unknown to his elder brother - was secretly also attending this meeting, but that’s another story).


Provenance: Japanese Gallery

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