Hokusai’s Kohada Koheiji from One Hundred Ghost Tales

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

100 Ghost Tales (or hyaku monogatari) was a parlour game popular during the Japanese Edo period. Friends sat together at night and traded ghost stories in a lit room, extinguishing a lamp after each story until they were sitting in total darkness.

It seems that Japanese artist, painter and master printmaker Katsushika Hokusai had planned a series of 100 prints to accompany 100 ghost stories. However, only five designs have ever been found - among them this image of Kohada Koheiji, an actor murdered by his wife and her lover, who drown him in an Asaka swamp. In this comically gruesome image, the ghost of Koheiji is puling down the edge of the mosquito net which surrounds the bed where his wife and her lover are presumably locked in a passionate embrace. The ghost’s wide grin and intensely dark eyes are often considered a precursor to the dramatic narratives and fantastical themes that characterise modern manga comics.


Kohada Koheiji, from One Hundred Ghost Tales by Katsushika Hokusai (c.1833)

via The Guardian

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