Currently Documented Characteristics for Light Background Version:
||Hodo signature; Takemura seal
|Title-caption (right margin):
||カワセミ, kawasemi, Kingfisher
|Publication Date (left margin):
||昭和十五年六月作 (June 1940)
|Takemura Copyright (lower left margin):
版権所有 竹村秀雄, han ken sho yu Takemura Hideo, ‘printing rights held by Takemura Hideo’.
This design is one of several in a small series which Hodo created for Takemura. Although as yet no dark background version has been documented, one is believed to have been printed.
This design like others appearing late in the series is unusual in having a light background version which has a different signature and seal combination from that used earlier.
Because there are almost certainly designs which remain to be documented, this series has not yet been assigned sequence numbers. For now the design is labeled with its original publication date taken from the left margin.
Although only the bird is named in the title-caption, the composition includes two kinds of plants, a fish, and a pair of wooden posts.
Common (River) Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, 翡翠, 川蝉, かわせみ, カワセミ kawa-semi, 'kingfisher', is native to much of Eurasia, including Japan.
Weeping Willow, Salix babylonica is 柳, 楊, 楊柳, やなぎ, ヤナギ, yanagi. The Japanese name is also used as a general label for any willow, much as in English.
Lesser Water Chestnut, Trapa japonica, 菱, ひし, ヒシ, hishi, lit. 'diamond (shape)', is an aquatic annual plant native to Japan.
It takes its Japanese name from its diamond-shaped leaves which float in a rosette on the surface of the water.
It is closely related to other plants in the same genus called Water Chestnut and Water Caltrop (from the shapes of their edible seeds). The form illustrated is idealized from among the various kinds of water chestnut.
Common (Eurasian)Carp, Cyprinus carpio, 鯉, たちあおい, コイ, koi, is an often raised species of freshwater fish.
The Japanese name is used both for the wild and domesticated varieties.
Like goldfish, carp were originally raised for food, and rare color and form mutants among the domesticated stock were selectively bred for decorative purposes.
The English name koi is borrowed directly from Japanese only in the restricted sense of those decorative carp kept as pets.
Carp is still eaten today including koi stock that does not meet breed standards for pets, but fish kept as pets are not eaten.
Fancy koi varieties are also often called 錦鯉, にしきごい, ニシキゴイ, nishiki-goi, lit. 'colored carp'.