Karōshi (過労死) is the Japanese term, introduced in 1978, for “overwork death”. The death of people whose lives are literally consumed by working. Utagawa Kuniyoshi was an Ukiyo-e ( 浮世絵: Floating World) Artist – the last great master, according to some – who produced remarkable woodcuts ranging from satire to Cats suggested as The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō. His career survived bans on Ukiyo-e and the shifting politics of modernising Japan. Defying the Skeleton Spectre shows a mythical episode where the emperor’s official, Mitsukuni, comes to search for conspirators in Shimōsa Province; The historical Princess Takiyasha, daughter of Taira no Masakado, set up an “Eastern Court” in competition with the Emperor. The rebellion was suppressed. The myth grew from history into something more than a statement of events: death is part of power. Death is how the Powerful know they are powerful. Death is a Cult.
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