Home‎ > ‎Artists‎ > ‎Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912)‎ > ‎

Fragrance from the series Eastern Customs: Enumerated Blessings

Illustration of The Imperial Assembly of the House of Peers

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Fragrance from the series

Eastern Customs: Enumerated Blessings

by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1889

Tanzi: He Fed His Parent's Doe's Milk, No. 10 from the series Juxtaposed Pictures of Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety

IHL Cat. #2208

About This Print

One of thirty prints in the series Azuma fūzoku, fukuzukushi (Eastern Customs: Enumerated Blessings), issued between 1887 and 1890.1 In this print, the fragrance of the plum blossoms fill the air. Another simple pleasure being enjoyed by two stylishly dressed young women.

1 This series has been variously translated as Eastern Customs: Varieties of HappinessCustoms of Tokyo, A Collection of "Fuku" WordsCustoms of the East, A Collection of Fuku WordsAn Array of Auspicious Customs of Eastern JapanCustoms of Edo: Enumerated FortunesCustoms of the Capital Displayed by Homonyms of the Word "Fuku"Collection of Happiness, Daily Life of the EastA Collection of Happiness, Customs in the East among others.

The Series Eastern Customs: Enumerated Blessings

Source: Chikanobu: Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints, Bruce A. Coats, Hotei Publishing, 2006, p.46 and my commentary.

"Some of these single sheet designs [in the series Eastern Customs: Enumerated Blessings] are among Chikanobu's finest renderings of Meiji period life, with elegant modern ladies dressed in the latest French fashions and handsome government officials donning their European style uniforms. He also created vignettes of daily life at home in Tokyo, with a baby learning to crawl, children playing games, young girls reading in the afternoon, and two young women enjoying flute music at dusk in an iris garden.

These images have a proud sense of well being, that Japan has successfully transitioned into the modern era but still retained the best aspects of its traditional culture. The Roman alphabet has been used in titles to give a contemporary global outlook to the prints, even though the letters spell Japanese words. These works were published at a time when discussions were taking place in Tokyo about whether Chinese characters (kanji) should be abandoned as too old fashioned and cumbersome, and how English should become more widespread in Japan as a way of making the Japanese more internationally conscious and competitive."

Each print carries one of the many meanings of the word "fuku" (or "huku" as it appears in each print's multi-colored title cartouche, written in a hybrid form of Western fonts.)

Many of the prints in the series, if not the entire series, were issued more than once, as color variants of many of the prints exist and varying dates of publication can be found on several prints. In addition, many of the prints in the series can be found both with dates in the publisher's rectangular cartouche or without dates.

The Thirty Prints in the Series
Note: Most of the below images were taken from the bound album in the collection of the National Diet Library, with other images coming from the bound album in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the prints in the collection of Keio University Library. When multiple dates are shown below, it reflects that different copies of a particular print bear different dates. 

福引 (ふく引)
Lottery, 1889
福わらひ (福わらい)
Lucky Laugh Game, 1889 (Fukuwara Game)
”HUKU Warai.”

  ふくわうち (福は内)
Inside Happiness, 1887, 1889
“HUKU Wauthi”
Pheasant-eye, 1890
“huku Giusoii”
Fragrance, 1889
Two Mirrors Looking, 1890
“Ken huku”
A Set of Hanging Scrolls, 1889
(Two Kakemonos)

Allegiance of Everybody, 1889
“BANMIN kihuku”
 Visiting the Shrines of the Seven Lucky Gods, 1889
"7 Huku Maude.”

Wind Blowing, 1889
"KAZE huku"
Owls, 1889
Paper Blowing, 1890
Blowing a Flute, 1889
“huye Huku.” 
Ornamental Border, 1887, 1890 
*a type of flower

Gourds, 1890
huku be”
Bats, 1887 and 1889
"hen HUKU"
Blessed with Many Children, 1890

Concubine's Children, 1890

匍匐 (葡匐)
Crawling, 1889
 有ふく (有福)
Wealthy, 1890
"YUU huku"
Photographs, 1890
 ふく神 (福神)
God of Fortune, 1890
”Huku Gin”

Supplementary Reading, 1887, 1889
“HUKU Doku”

Kimono fabrics, 1887, 1889
"GO Huku"
 Blizzard, 1889
Western Clothing, 1889
"YOU Huku "
大 礼ふく(大札ふく) – Ceremonial Attire, 1889
(Official Clothes)

Fine Dress, not dated
“BI huku”
福ねずみ (福ねづみ)
Lucky Mice, not dated
“HUKU Nezumi"
Spraying Water, 1889
"Kiri huku"

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Fragrance
 馥郁 fuku iku
 Series Eastern Customs: Enumerated Blessings
 東風俗 福づくし Azuma fūzoku, fukuzukushi
  [also seen translated as Eastern Customs: Varieties of Happiness; Customs of Tokyo, A Collection of "Fuku" Words; Customs of the East, A Collection of Fuku Words; An Array of Auspicious Customs of Eastern Japan; Customs of Edo: Enumerated Fortunes; Customs of the Capital Displayed by Homonyms of the Word "Fuku"; Collection of Happiness, Daily Life of the East; A Collection of Happiness, Customs in the East]
 Artist Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912)
楊洲周延筆 Yōshū Chikanobu hitsu
 Seal no artist's seal
 Publication Date
 1889 Meiji 22
note: printing and publication dates are not filled in on the publisher's cartouche on this collection's print (see below) but other extant prints bear the date Meiji 22
武川卯之吉 Takekawa (Takegawa) Unokichi
[Marks: pub. ref. 522; seal not shown]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - minor wrinkling and soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e

 Format ōban
 H x W Paper 
 13 15/16 x 9 1/2 in. (35.4 x 24.1 cm) 
 H x W Image
 13 1/8 x 9 in. (33.3 x 22.9 cm)

 Collections This PrintNational Diet Library Call Number 寄別8-5-2-2 (25 prints in the series bound into an album); Metropolitan Museum of Art 2007.49.331a, (26 prints in the series bound into an album) 
last revision:
2/8/20 created