Adachi Ginkō

Adachi Ginkō: Skeleton Receiving the Constitution

from Tonchi kyōkai zasshi (The Journal of the Association of Practical Knowledge)

February 28, 18893 

Adachi Ginkō 安達吟光 (active 1873-1902)1


Sources: International Fine Prints Dealers Association website; The Sino-Japanese War Nathan Chaikin, self-published, 1983, p. 36; A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976, p. 32 and as footnoted.

Little is known about the life of the artist Adachi Ginkō.  He was born under the name of Adachi Heishichi 安達平七 and in addition to the name Adachi Ginkō used the (artist names) Shōsetsusai Ginkō 松雪斎銀光, Shinshō Ginkō 真匠銀光, Shōsai Ginkō 松斎吟考 and Shōunsai Ginkō 松雲斎銀光. He studied with the Western-style painter Goseda Hōryū I (1827-1892) and he is identified with the Utagawa school.  During the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) he worked as a war correspondent and illustrator. Besides war prints he produced scenes of current events, depictions of the Boshin rebellion of 1870, actor portraits, theater scenes and satirical cartoons. 

In 1889 Ginkō was jailed along with his editor, Miyatake Gaikotsu and the printer Tokuyama Hōshi, for depicting the emperor as a skeleton accepting the new constitution in the Diet. The cartoon lampooned the emperor, the new representative government and the promulgation of the constitution ceremony held on February 11, 1889 and Ginkō was sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of fifty yen. As pointed out by Meech-Pekarik, poking fun at the emperor was a risky move for an artist who worked off commissions.2

In 1898 he illustrated the Hayanawa Kappō Kenpō Kyōjan Zukai, Zen [Complete Illustrated Book of the Teaching Method of Tying (Hayanawa)], The Striking Methods of Jujutsu (Kenpo) and the Method of Resuscitation (Kappo), a complete copy of which can be found at [accessed 10-2-23]

1 Wikipedia lists the artist's birth and death dates as 1853-Dec 5, 1902. 

2 The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, Julia Meech-Pekarik, Weatherhill, 1986, p. 185.

3 Ibid. p. 184. 

Sample Signatures Attributed to Artist

[1] 枩雪齋銀光筆 Shōsetsusai Ginkō hitsu with Ginkō seal, c. 1870; [2] 依頼随眞匠銀光 Irai shitagai Shinshō Ginkō ga with unread seal, 1877; [3] 枩雪齋銀光筆 Shōsetsusai Ginkō hitsu with Ginkō seal, 1873; [4] 安達吟光 Adachi Ginkō with unread seal c. 1870; [5] Shōsai Ginkō with 獨学拙筆 dokugaku seppitsu seal, 1890; [6] 吟光画 Ginkō ga with 獨学拙筆 dokugaku seppitsu seal, 1891; [7] 應需吟光 ōju Ginkō with 下手の横好 heta no yokozuki seal, 1894*; [8] 應需吟光 ōju Ginkō with 下手の横好 heta no yokozuki seal, 1894 [9] 應需吟光 ōju Ginkō with Ginkō seal, c. 1894; [10] 吟光 Ginkō with 獨学拙筆 dokugaku seppitsu seal, 1896; [11] 應需吟光 ōju Ginkō with 獨学拙筆 dokugaku seppitsu seal, 1896; [12] 應需吟光 ōju Ginkō with Ginkō seal, c. 1897

* "heta no yokozuki" is an expression that roughly means someone who, though passionate about something, is not very skillful at it. 













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