Muzan-e ("cruel pictures”) and Chimidoro-e ("bloody pictures”) together constitute a significant strand of ukiyo-e, the populist art of late Edo-period Japan. The most famous example of this genre remains Eimei Nijuhasshuku (1868) by the artists Yoshitoshi and Yoshiiku. Yoshiiku's violent contributions to this series are matched in horror by many other of his prints, ranging from news-sheet illustrations of misogynistic murder to kabuki scenes of torture and images of warriors harvesting severed heads in battle. Such gore-splashed pictures were also produced by numerous other artists, including Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, Yoshitoshi, Yoshiyuki, Kunichika, and the unsung creators of garish Osaka sex-crime news-sheets. "Cruelty And Carnage", edited by Jack Hunter (who also edited the ground-breaking extreme ukiyo-e anthology "Dream Spectres”), collects and considers over 100 of the most blood-drenched and disturbing artworks produced by Yoshiiku and others, presented in large-format and full-colour throughout. The Ukiyo-e Master Series: presenting seminal collections of art by the greatest print-designers and painters of Edo-period and Meiji-period Japan.
Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833 - 1904) was a leading ukiyo-e artist and pupil of the master Kuniyoshi. He enjoyed a great rivalry with co-pupil Yoshitoshi, and in 1868 the pair collaborated on the notorious atrocity series Eimei Nijuhasshuku. In 1874 Yoshiiku was co-founder of the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shinbun, a renowned illustrated broadsheet.