Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Sakurahime, Courtesan, Beauty, New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts

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Original Japanese woodblock print. 

Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839 – 1892)
Title: 6. The Ghost of Seigen Haunting Sakurahime
Publisher: Sasaki Toyokichi
Date: 1889


Sakurahime was a famous courtesan, the most beautiful of her time. Seigen was the abbot of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. As Sakurahime was visiting the temple gardens one day, they became infatuated with each other. The resulting scandal led to Seigen abandoning his studies and Sakurahime giving up her position. Even so, their story ended in tragedy as Seigen was killed by Sakurahime’s outraged servant.


In this print, based on the play ‘Sakurahime’, Seigen’s ghost appears in the smoke from a sunken fire. The smoke blends into the pattern of the wood-grain in the sliding door behind. Sakurahime’s kimono is appropriately decorated with cherry blossoms, which, apart from their beauty, are a symbol for the transience of human life. The white hem of Sakurahime’s kimono is beautifully embossed.


(Based on ‘Yoshitoshi’s Thirty-Six Ghosts’ by John Stevenson)

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title The Ghost of Seigen Haunting Sakurahime
Subject Beauty & Female, Spirits & Religion
Series New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts
Publisher Sasaki Toyokichi