Kibyoshi (an illustrated book of popular fiction whose cover is yellow) (黄表紙)

Kibyoshi is one of the genres of kusazoshi (illustrated story books) which was popular after 1775, the mid-Edo period.

"Kinkin sensei eigano yume" (Master Flashgold's Splendiferous Dream) written by Harumachi KOIKAWA got famous as a reading for adults, which was distinguished from the childish kusazoshi that had been written until then. A series of books after that came to be called kibyoshi later. One book has five leaves, and most of them consisted of two or three books. It was customarily published every New Year. Among the kibyoshi written by Kisanji HOSEIDO and Harumachi KOIKAWA, the ones whose titles contained the words 'literary and military arts' were put under pressure by bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) as they were satires against Sadanobu MATSUDAIRA's encouraging policy of literary and military arts. Sharebon book (a gay-quarter novelette) and kibyoshibon written by Kyoden SANTO were also exposed, and Kyoden suffered 50-day tegusari penalty (confinement to one's residence and restraint in behavior with handcuffs on the wrists). From around the Bunka era, the revenge story reached its height, and it became long, then it was shifted to the genre of gokan (bound-together volumes of illustrated books).


As "Kinkin sensei eigano yume" suggests, the plot of kibyoshi itself was silly, but it was fun to find out elements of amusement hidden in the words and every corner of illustrations. It had expression techniques such as something like speech balloons, which could be led to the contemporary manga (comic books).

Representative works

"Kinkin sensei eigano yume" (1775) by Harumachi KOIKAWA
"Edo umare uwaki no kabayaki" (broiled eel, edo born dandy) (1785) by Kyoden SANTO
"Bunbu nido mangoku toshi" (the ten thousand stones on the double path of learning and the martial arts) (1788) by Kisanji HOSEIDO
"Omugaeshi bunbu no futamichi" (parroting the double path of literary and military arts) (1789) by Harumachi KOIKAWA

[Original Japanese]