Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: ‘Megasamesou’ – Koka nenkan musume no fuzoku (A Young Girl of Koka Era (1844-1848) Looking as if She’s Waking Up)
Series title: Fuzoku Sanjuniso (Thirty-two aspects of customs and manners)
Publisher: Tsunashima Kamekichi
Dimensions: 24.0 x 35.6cm
First edition print.
‘Megasame’ means literally ‘the eyes are opening’. This young lady, with her yukata (cotton robe) slipping off one shoulder, is only half awake. She has a wash towel draped round her and rubs her teeth with a split-bamboo toothbrush. The girl’s hairstyle shows that she is single and of the chonin, merchant class.
Her light yukata and large morning-glory flowers in the pot behind her indicate the summer season. The flowers themselves, called ‘asagao’ also mean ‘morning face’. Yoshitoshi loved to draw vines, gourds, and climbing plants of all sorts, and they figure prominently in a large number of his designs.
Her eyelashes are depicted as turning inward across the eye, an unusual but accurate representation that Yoshitoshi uses throughout the series.