Eight Hundred Heroes of Our Country’s Suikoden, One by One,

Part I

(Honchô Suikoden gôyû happyaku-nin no hitori, 本朝水滸傳剛勇八百人一個)

Publisher: Kaga-ya Kichiemon (1845 reprints by Iba-ya Sensaburô)

c. 1830-1836


This series of prints shows various Japanese warriors.  The title of the series likens them to the Chinese heroes of the semi-historical novel, Suikoden (Shuihu zhuan in Chinese).  The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.



Scene: Izumi no Saburô Tadahira tsuma Fujinoe  (泉三郎忠衡妻藤の江) overthrows Yemoto Jurô and Nagasawa Uemon-tarô at the Battle of Takadachi Castle (1189)

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.1


Scene: Hayakawa Ayunosuke (早川鮎之助) damming the Ayukawa River in order to strand fish in the open fields

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.2


NOTE: The seal of publisher Kaga-ya Kichiemon is on the lower border of the print, to the left of center.


In this later edition, the seal of publisher Iba-ya Sensaburô is just behind Hayakawa Ayunosuke’s rear leg.


Scene: Inudzuka Shino Moritaka (犬塚信乃戍孝) resisting arrest on the Hôryûkaku roof

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.3


NOTE: This print and the following one are separate prints, each about 14 by 10 inches, which are meant to be viewed together as a vertical diptych.  The size of each print is called ôban and the vertical diptych is called a kakemono-e.




Scene: Inukai Kempachi Nobumichi (犬飼現八信道) directing the attempted arrest of Inudzuka Shino Moritaka

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.4


This is a hanshita-e (final drawing) for the upper sheet of the preceding diptych.


Scene: Inuzuka Keno Tanetomo (犬坂毛野胤智) restraining Tsunahei.  He has written on the wall, “Written by Inuzuka Keno Tanetomo, age fifteen, on the sixteenth day of the fifth month of the eleventh year of the Bummei Period” (June 6, 1479)

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.5



Scene: I no Hayata Hironoa (猪早太寛直) seizing the monster nuye as it falls to the ground amid clouds and lightning

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.6


NOTE: The nuye was a beast with the head of a monkey, the claws of a tiger, the back of a badger and a snake for a tail.  It spent its nights on the roof of the Emperor’s palace, causing him grave illness until it was slain by I no Hayata Hironoa.


Scene: Kadzusa no Suke Hirotsune (上総助廣常) battling with the nine-tailed fox on Nasu Moor

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.7


NOTE: According to Japanese legend, foxes are evil creatures with long lives.  Their magical powers increase, as they grow older.  When 1,000 years old, they become either white or golden in color and have nine tails


Scene: Kashiwade no Hanoshi (膳臣巴提使) killing the Korean tiger that had devoured his daughter

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.8


Scene: Kitashirakawa Iwabuchi Tankai (北白河岩扶湛海) in combat with Ushiwaka Maru (牛若丸) before the Tenjin Temple at Gojô in Kyoto

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.9



Another state of the above design without any purple


Scene: Ôanamuchi no Mikoto (大巳貴命) killing the monstrous eagle that had been attacking passing ships

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.10


NOTE: Ôanamuchi no Mikoto is also a Shinto divinity worshiped at the Kita shrine of Hagui in Noto.  See “Ōnamuchi-no-mikoto, a lost legend” in Andon, No. 95, 2013, pp. 58-61.



Scene:  Odai Matarokurô (小田井又六郎, aka Yorisada) breaking a huge sake-jar with his spear while Iwazu Tetsuemon (岩津銕右衛門, aka Shigenobu) is drinking in the background

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.11


I am grateful to Nathan Oliver for this image.


Scene: Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki (尾形周馬寛行), who is later known as Jiraiya, uses a small cannon to kill a giant serpent that had eaten his friends the toads

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.12


I am grateful to Nathan Oliver for this image.


Scene: Oniwaka Maru (書寫御持西荅鬼若丸, Benkei in boyhood) as an apprentice monk at Shôshazan discomfiting the monks with whom he had quarreled

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.13


Scene: Ôtani Furuinosuke (大谷古猪之助) at the age of fifteen killing a giant boar with his bare hands

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.14


This is another state of the above print.


Scene: Satô Shirobyôe Tadanobu (佐藤四郎兵衞忠信) crushing two armed assailants under large go-board and lifts another up by the girdle

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.15


Another state of the above design


Scene: Shimose Kaga (下瀬加賀) tying up a man in a horned mask who had pretended to be a demon at Rokkakudô in Kyoto

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.16



Scene: Tengan Isobei (天眼磯兵衞) throwing Yasha Arashi in a wrestling match

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.17



Scene: Eda Genzô Hirotsuna (江田源蔵弘綱) defending the Horikawa Palace in Kyoto against the attacking forces of Tosa-bô Shôshun in 1185

Date: c.1830

Robinson: S4a.18


I am grateful to Nathan Oliver for this image.



“Robinson” refers to listing in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by Basil William Robinson (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1982) and its privately published supplement.