In the 1870s, a revolution happened in Japanese journalism. Instead just publishing hot goss whenever they felt like it, newspapers were suddenly taking their job seriously, and they started printing wordy and worthy reporting on the regular. However, this wasn't very interesting to the majority of the Japanese population, who were functionally illiterate and didn't really care about actual factual news. To fill this what we now call "Fox News" gap in sensationalist journalism, a new medium was created: shinbun nishiki-e, illustrated woodblock printing that treated the news like a very topical, very bloody comic book.
Shinbun nishiki-e prints were one-page stories light on words and heavy on scandalous imagery. Illustrating them were some of the greatest Japanese woodblock artists of the time. Their outdated art form was losing in popularity, so they were probably glad for the regular paycheck. This led to very evocative pieces with very disturbing subject matter, like the surely real story of a rude foreigner kicking a prostitute in her moneymaker ...