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Minamoto no Toshiyori Ason

This print, number seven this year, is one of the few images in the whole set that can be readily identified without looking at the written name of the poet. The poem mentions a 'wild, mountain wind', and Shunsho has picked up this theme for his illustration, giving us a convincing depiction of the poet caught in a stiff breeze. Interestingly enough, this poet's father is also included in the Hyakunin Isshu (Dainagon Tsunenobu, whose print you received last year), and his poem also takes the wind as a theme.

I did not carve this print here in my Hamura workshop. This year was the 'hatsu-bon' ceremonies for my wife's late father, and we spent three weeks down at her family home in a small village in the southern part of Mie Prefecture. There, sitting at a small kotatsu table in a second story room in a tiny outbuilding, looking out over the valley, I carved these blocks. During the time that we were there, the rice gradually turned from green to brown, and by the time we had to leave, the harvest was well under way. As you know, this summer was very hot, and at least twice a day I would lay down my knife and take a dip in the stream that flows just next to the house. It was an idyllic working situation, and it's going to be tough to get going on next month's print back here at home, with that river of clear water being replaced by a river of noisy trucks! But I certainly enjoyed my 'vacation', and I hope that something of the peacefullness of the working environment came through in the carving ....

I hope you enjoy this print. Coming next, the second court lady in this year's set, 'Ise no Taifu'.