Anno Moyoco (b. 1971)
Untitled (Illustration from the text Sakuran)
Japan, 2001-2003
Painting; ink and color on paper
Copyright: Anno Moyoco / Cork Inc.
Loan from Moyoco Anno / Cork Inc.

This painting, which was later published as a frontispiece for the 4th chapter of Sakuran, shows the members of the cast: the young kamuro (adolescent assistant) Kiyoha, known at that time as Tomeki, stands in the foreground. In the upper center of the composition sits the oiran courtesan Shōhi, who Tomeki serves. On the far right appears a wealthy businessman who has just married Shōhi and is about to liberate her from indentured servitude.

Anno’s use of brilliant color and floral motifs throughout the symmetrical composition expresses the joyous mood of Shōhi’s wedding ceremony. At the same time, however, the tense facial expressions of some of the women, particularly Tomeki’s snarl, reveal underlying personal conflicts.