One-hundred ghosts stories

by Taiso Yoshitoshi

Ghosts stories were popular in Japan. One-hundred persons liked to gather by the light of one-hundred candles and tell scary tales. Each time a legend was finished, one candle was blown out and the next person began.

When Yoshitoshi created 100 ghosts stories of Japan and China, he used this tradition. Twenty-six selected designs and a title page were published in 1865. It became his first popular series. 

The woodblocks are difficult to understand for Westerners. Therefore, I wrote direct descriptions in simple wordings. I hope that you will appreciate what you see. More information about the ghost stories can be found in a book by John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's Strange Tales, Amsterdam 2005. 

The prints are listed in the order used by Stevenson. No thumbnails are given, because the prints contain too many details. When a link is clicked, a new page will be opened. The title, a large picture and a description unfold. A 'slide show' of individual prints begins, if ‘next print’ is clicked. 


Jan van Reek

Mary Deeming gave me the images of One-hundred ghosts stories for an exhibition on the internet. She runs a monthly auction of Japanese prints and shows many woodblocks in an archive.


Titles of the prints


1. Samanosuke Mitsutoshi with fox fires

2. Lord Sadanobu watched by a demon behind a screen

3. Oda Harunaga and a page with a lantern

4. Kusunoki Tamon Masayuki surprises a fox ghost

5. Kiyohime emerges from the Hidaka River

6. Watanabe Genjitsuna rides a horse in the rain

7. Tawara Toda Hidesato protects the daughter of the dragon’s king from a giant millepede

8. Fuwa Bansaku in a ruined temple with a black monster on his umbrella

9. Sagiike Heikuru fishing

10. Oya Taro Mitsukuni watches skeletons

11. Shirafuji Genta and kappa

12. The wrestler Onogawa Kisaburo blows smoke at a three-eyed monster

13. Iga no Tsubone and tengu

14. Toki Daishiro fights a demon

15. Minamoto Yorimitsu Ason watches a spider

16. Kayo Fujin, the consort of Prince Nanzoku of India with a severed head

17. Raishin with the wind and thunder gods

18. Nyuunryu Kosonsho faces a dragon on a rocky promontory over the sea

19. Shobu and the elephant

20. Donyoku no baba - the greedy lady with the box of demons

21. Nikki Dansei Naonori changes into a rat

22. Shusuinosuke Tobe Suetake meets a ghost with a child

23. Miyamoto Musashi slashes a tengu

24. Kabe Fudesuke and the ghost of a woman in the waterfall

25. Shutendoji surrounded by women

26. Mashiba Tairyo Hisayoshi ko in lightening

Greedy lady has opened the large box of demons

100 ghosts stories 1865

Greedy lady has opened the large box of demons

New forms of 36 ghosts 1892

Yoshitoshi designed a New series of thirty-six ghosts from 1889-92. Some stories are repeated. See the example. 

Thirty-six ghosts by Yoshitoshi

More exhibitions of Japanese prints
Series by Hokusai and Yoshitoshi