"During the mid-nineteenth century Japan underwent radical social and political change, accompanied by incessant chaos and war, as it was transformed from a medieval to a modern society....For Ukiyo-e artists like Utagawa Kuniyoshi and his young apprentice Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, it was a tumultuous period....Yoshitoshi was one of the print masters who survived the turmoil and went on to create masterpieces. Although much admired during his mature years as the leading print artist of his day, subsequent generations have not been as kind: after his death his works were largely forgotten. A reevaluation began in the late 1960s, and today he is much admired along with Kiyochika and Kunichika as one of the three leading Ukiyo-e masters of the Meiji period. A vigorous draftsman and an accomplished print master, Yoshitoshi used his enormous talents to revive old and adapt new concepts of space, texture, light, and color to the print medium. Deeply introspective and for a period of time mentally ill, he often seems to reveal his inner torment in his work. His art delved into realms that appeal to modern audiences: themes dealing with the occult, with demonic violence, sexual sadism, and hallucinatory imagery. Although some of his contemporaries occasionally touched on these subjects, none approached them with the incredible intensity of Yoshitoshi." --George Kuwayama in "The Bizarre Imagery of YOSHITOSHI." Circulated by E.D.O. Comprehensive Exhibition Services, Los Angeles California, 1980.
This ia a chuban-sized print from Yoshitoshi's charming set on Meiji morals. The strange, ghost-like figures hovering around the characters are the spirits of good and evil (here all good) who push the characters into certain actions and applaud when they follow. The scene here shows the father, who wears the uniform of a military commander, returning to his family, who bow down before him. The words of the conversation are written on the pale green flooring.
Upper right detail:
Lower right detail, including signature: