Miotsukushi Chapter 14


Ogata Gekko (1859 - 1920)

Chapter 14 Miotsukushi from Ogata Gekko’s, Fifty Four Chapters of Tale of Genji. The Tale of Genji was written shortly after the year 1000 in Japan’s Heian era, when the capital was situated at Heian-kyo(present day Kyoto). From about the … Read Full Description


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Full Title:

Miotsukushi Chapter 14




Ogata Gekko (1859 - 1920)


In good condition.



Image Size: 

x 347mm
Miotsukushi Chapter 14 - Antique Print from 1898

Genuine antique



Chapter 14 Miotsukushi from Ogata Gekko’s, Fifty Four Chapters of Tale of Genji.

The Tale of Genji was written shortly after the year 1000 in Japan’s Heian era, when the capital was situated at Heian-kyo(present day Kyoto).

From about the beginning of the Third Month, Genji thought about the Akashi lady, for her time was approaching. He sent off a messenger who returned with good news that a girl was safely delivered on the sixteenth. He was reminded of what a fortune-teller had once told him. Genji would have three children who would be certain to become emperor, empress and chancellor. Genji badly regretted letting his daughter not be born in Kyoto. When the long rains of early summer came, he paid a visit to Hanachirusato, the lady of orange blossoms. She was totally dependent on Genji. Through she saw little of him, she never showed her resentment like a modern girl. He knew that she would not make him uncomfortable. He was himself very beautiful in the misty moonlight. She was waiting for him out near the veranda, in contemplation of the night. From nearby there came the metallic cry of a water rail. Her soft and modest character pleased Genji. In the autumn Genji made a pilgrimage to Sumiyoshi shrine. It was a brilliant progress, thanks to his prayers. A huge number of attendants participated. Men who had in earlier days led bitter lives like Koremitsu and Yoshikiyo were among them. For the Akashi lady it was tormenting to see the entire splendor but not see Genji himself. Even a small child like Yugiri had his own servants. The lady felt the difference between Genji and her own family. It seemed that her daughter was utterly significant. As she thought that the god would scarcely notice her little offering, she directed her boat to Naniwa. Returning to Kyoto, the Rokujo lady fell ill and died. In his retreat, holding a religious service, Genji sent frequently to inquire after her daughter to console her. It was a day of high wind, driving snow and sleet. He thought how much more miserable the weather must seem to her. Genji sent a poem saying that the spirit of her mother would watch over her. He wrote it with a dazzling brush on a paper of cloudy azure.


Ogata Gekko (1859-1920)

Gekko’s was born Nakagami Masanosuke in the Kobayashi district of Edo (Tokyo), and lived most of his life in the same district.  His father was a wealthy merchant who ran the family business which had been established for several generations.

Gekko was orphaned at the age of 16 when his father died and his family lost their businesses and had to open a lantern shop. The teenage Gekko survived by designing rickshaws and selling his drawings. His rickshaws were shown at the Interior Exhibition of Industrial Design as examples of fine contemporary craftsmanship. 

After this and after producing an immense number of paintings and sketches, he was recognized by such important figures as the artist Kawanabe Kyosai (often credited for ‘discovering’ Gekko) and the famous Ogata family, direct descendants of one of Japan’s most celebrated artists, Ogata Korin (who was himself older brother to the legendary artist, Ogata Kenzan). Ogata Koya adopted him and the young artist appended  their family name to the name he gave himself, Gekko, which means ‘Moonlight’.

Though Gekko would later become a founding member and developer of several important art institutions, including Nihon Bijutsu Kyôkaï, Nihon Seinen Kaïga Kyôkaï (the Japan Youth Painting Association), the Academy of Japanese Art, the Bunten (the Ministry of Education’s annual juried exhibition), and an actively participating member of the Nihon Bijitsuin and the Meiji Fine Art Association, he never attended art school himself, nor did he undergo the traditional apprenticeship in a print maker’s studio. In a society that discouraged self-promotion, Gekko began his art career by preparing flyers and taking them around to various publishers and places to sell his services as an illustrator for magazines and newspapers and a designer of lacquerware and pottery.

Although his techniques were thoroughly modern, Gekko considered himself to be firmly rooted in the ukiyo-e tradition. Though he had no teacher himself, he had some outstanding pupils during a 30 year teaching career, including Yamamura Toyonari (Koka), his son Ogata Getsuzan, Kanamori Nanko, and Tsukioka Kôgyo (1869-1927), whose mother had married the Meiji Period’s other great artist, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.


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