Biography of Yoshitsune

(Hodo Yoshitsune koi no Minamoto ichidaiki, 程義経戀源)

1848-1853

 

Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159-1189) was a warrior whose tragic life has been fictionalized in many plays and novels. He was placed in a monastery after his fathers death in an unsuccessful revolt against the dictatorship of Taira Kiyomori, but Yoshitsune escaped and in 1180 joined a rebellion against the Taira Clan launched by his brother Minamoto Yoritomo. Yoshitsunes first spectacularly successful campaign was against his cousin Yoshinaka in 1184. That same year he led an assault on the Taira forces camped at Ichinotani, demoralizing and dispersing them. In 1185, he finally annihilated the Taira in the naval battle of Dannoura. Yoshitsune was forced into an unsuccessful rebellion against his brother Yoritomo in 1185. He eventually committed suicide in 1189 after killing his wife and daughter. The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ban.

 

Scene: The flight of Tokiwa-gozen through the snow with her three children, Imawaka, Otowaka and Ushiwaka

Publisher: Iba-ya Kybei

Robinson: S65.1

Date: 1847-1850 (censors Mera and Murata)

Scene: The tengu king (here called Kibune no keshin meaning incarnation of Kibune) giving Ushiwaka a fencing lesson

Title: The Secrets of Strategy: Chapter Two (San ryaku den dai ni, 三略傳 第二)

Publisher: Iba-ya Kybei

Robinson: S65.2

Date: 1847-1850 (censors Mera and Murata)

 

NOTE: Tengu are forest-dwelling creatures that are either human-like with wings and long noses or bird-like. Kibune is a mountain just north of Kyoto having an ancient shrine near its summit.

 

Scene: Yoshitsune clinging to the branch of a tree kicks over Mitsuma no Daita who later became his retainer Kisanda

Title: The Secrets of Strategy: Chapter Three (San ryaku den dai san, 三略傳 第三)

Publisher: Iba-ya Kybei

Robinson: S65.3

Date: 1847-1850 (censors Mera and Murata)

 

Scene: Kawachi Kakutei on the lookout in a pine tree with Chhan and his gang below

Title: The Secrets of Strategy: Chapter Four (San ryaku den dai yon, 三略傳 第四)

Publisher: Iba-ya Kybei

Robinson: S65.4

Date: 1847-1850 (censors Mera and Murata)

 

Another state of the above print published by Jsh-ya Jz (seal bottom center)

 

 

Scene: Yoshitsune with drawn sword in his room at an inn with Kumasaka Chhan outside

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Iba-ya Kybei

Robinson: S65.5

Date: 1847-1848 (censors Hama and Kinugasa)

 

Scene: The beautiful 15-year-old Jruri-hime helping Yoshitsune wash his hands

Title: The Secrets of Strategy: Chapter Six (San ryaku den dai roku, 三略傳 第六)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.6

Date: 1847-1850 (censors Mera and Murata)

 

This is another version of the above print, also published by Jsh-ya Jz. The background is much darker with the landscape in the background being shadowy rather than misty. The harsh synthetic inks indicate that this is a later printing.

 

Yet another state published by Iba-ya Kybei

 

Scene: Yokogawa no Kankai attacking Yoshitsune from behind

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.7

Date: 1847-1848 (censors Hama and Kinugasa)

 

Scene: Yoshitsune displaying his horsemanship before Fujiwara no Hidehira at the latters castle in Mutsu

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.8

Date: 1847-1848 (censors Hama and Kinugasa)

 

Scene: Yoshitsune with an open fan and Benkei with a naginata fighting on Goj Bridge

Title: The Secrets of Strategy: Chapter Thirteen (San ryaku den jyu san, 三略傳 十三)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.9

Date: 1847-1850 (censors Mera and Murata)

 

Another state of the above print.

 

Yet another state published by Iba-ya Kybei

 

Scene: Yoshitsune and Benkei fighting with swords

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Iba-ya Kybei

Robinson: S65.10

Date: 1847-1848 (censors Hama and Kinugasa)

 

Scene: Yoshitsune discovers Washio Sabur at Hiyodori-goye trussing up a wild boar before the Battle of Ichi-no-tani

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.11

Date: 1st month of 1853

 

Scene: Yoshitsune with Benkei and other followers under the cherry-blossoms at Suma after the Battle of Ichi-no-tani

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.12

Date: 1st month of 1853

 

Scene: Yoshitsunes eight boat leap to escape from Noritsune at the Battle of Dan-no-ura

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.13

Date: 1st month of 1853

 

Scene: Yoshitsune and Shidzuka-gozen defending themselves against the night attack at Horikawa by Tosa-b Shshun

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.14

Date: 2nd month of 1853

 

Scene: The ghosts of Taira warriorssome in the form of crabsattacking Yoshitsune and Benkei at Daimotsu Bay

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.15

Date: 1st month of 1853

 

Scene: Sat Tadanobu wearing Yoshitsunes armor leaps down upon the warrior-monk Yokogawa Kakuhan at Yoshino

Title: The Secrets of Strategy (San ryaku den, 三略伝)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Jz

Robinson: S65.16

Date: 1st month of 1853

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

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