Title: Monstrous Ukiyo-e
Artistic Director: Yuka Mitsui
Illustrator: Masumi Ishikawa
Woodcarver: Yusuke Sekioka
Printer: Takuya Okada
Size: 48 x 34 cm
KISS remains one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll. Well known for its members’ face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. With their make-up and costumes, they took on the personae of comic book-style characters: The Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), The Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley), and The Catman (Criss).
The members of the band are transformed into monsters and a samurai warrior. Gene Simmons is the flying devil with the large head. Eric Singer is the ‘Nekomata (mythical two-tailed monster),’ which stands for cat monster, just like his character in the band. Tommy Thayer is the ‘Nuribotoke,’ a monster with the Buddha’s face. Paul Stanley is the samurai warrior who fights these creatures, and the front piece of the warrior’s helmet has a star shape inspired by his persona name ‘Star Child.’ The pentagram is his signature but the hexagrams on his armour above his knees are meant to protect from the evil.
This print is based on a design by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi in which he depicts Toki Motosada Hurling a Demon King to the Ground at Mount Inohana (see reference images). Toki heard of peculiar happenings at an old temple in the neighbourhood and decided to investigate. Approaching the temple late at night, he peered in and saw strange phantoms jumping around. Toki grappled a ferocious temple guardian image and threw it down, after which all the apparitions vanished.