Sick Man Driven Mad by Priests Hired to Pray for
 His Recovery

YOSHITOSHI TSUKIOKA: Sick Man Driven Mad by Priests Hired to Pray for His Recovery
Postal News: 1875

The Postal News was one of the effloresence of newspapers of the Meiji era. In April, 1875, they hired Yoshitoshi on a year's contract to illustrate various news stories. Many of the illustrations are of bloody murder, suicide and rape -- showing that the taste of the readership has remained fairly stable across cultures and generations -- and they are often hastily executed to meet the deadlines. But they were crucial in bringing Yoshitoshi's work to a broad audience, and laying the basis for his future success and eventual prosperity.

This print, like most of Yoshitoshi's humourous prints, reflects the exaggerated expressions and gestures of the slapstick style that was popular with the Japanese people of the time. Having witnessed various religious ceremonies in Japan, I can guarantee that this story has a basis in fact: if you were feeling lousy, and a bunch of lunatics in saffron robes spent hours around your bed chanting, beating drums and clanging small, discordant cymbals in a reeking fog of incense, you would react negatively, too. In fairness, though, one must note that the patient is not only up and around again, he is engaged in strenuous physical exercise....

Larger image: 224K.
Yoshitoshi biography.

 

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