East Asian Collections, #28


  28.  Amanoto Toryū (1818-1877).  Kyōka chakizai gazōshū. Tokyo: Seiryūtei, Ansei 2, [1855] -- C. V. Starr East Asian Library (See fuller description below.)
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Kyōka or "mad verse" is a comic variant of waka, a 31-syllable Japanese poetry form heavily dependent on pivot words (kakekotoba) and related words (engo). Kyōka were written mainly during the Tokugawa period (1600-1868), and were popular among all classes. Many woodblock print artists illustrated kyōka, either individual verse as surimono (small edition or special occasion prints), or collections of verse in book format; an example of the latter is displayed here. Kyōka chakizai gazōshō (Collection of comic verse on tea utensils) is divided into two parts, the second of which contains verse by a number of poets. The first half of the book contains illustrations by two different artists, figures by Utagawa Yoshitora (a pupil of Kuniyoshi) and landscapes, such as the one here displayed, by Hiroshige (1797-1858).