Fujiwara Yasumasa Playing the Flute by Moonlight

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Gallery 103

On a moonlit fall night, the flute player Fujiwara Yasumasa (958–1036) strolls home, casually playing his instrument as he makes his way. Unbeknownst to him, a thief prepares to strike him down, intent on stealing his warm clothes. It’s a tense moment, and Yoshitoshi’s dynamic composition sets the mood. According to the story, Yasumasa’s flute playing charms his would-be attacker, who reconsiders his actions. In an act of compassion, Yasumasa leads the man to his house and gives him a coat to wear.