Comparisons of Physical Energy, Date Style

(Date moyô kekki kurabe, 伊達模様血気競)

Publisher: Murata-ya Ichibei

c. 1845-1846


The title of this series refers to the Date Clan that controlled the Tohoku region of northern Japan from the late sixteenth century into the Edo period.  They were responsible for several spectacular buildings and are known for a lavish style.  The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.  I am grateful to Ward Pieters for assisting with this series.



Scene: Danshichi Kurobei (団七九郎兵衛) drinking from the bucket of a wooden well with his sword stuck in the ground

Robinson: S42.1


Scene: Hokke Chôbei (法華長兵衛) seated on a sake barrel shading his eyes with one hand and holding a large axe with the other

Robinson: S42.2


Scene: Kakurega no Mohei (隠家茂兵衛) with an umbrella on his shoulder extending a lantern towards a small kappa

Robinson: S42.3


NOTE: Kappa are supernatural creatures that live both on land and in water and are as tall as a four- or five-year-old child.  They have a beak-like snout, and fins on their hands and feet.  They also have a shell on their back, and a water-filled dish on their head that is responsible for their supernatural power.


Scene: Konjin Chôgorô (金神長五郎) wrestling with a green demon watched by two other demons

Robinson: S42.4


Scene: Nozarashi Gosuke (野晒五助) seated with an apparition of a fox-divinity descending on a cloud

Robinson: S42.5



Scene: Shibori no Somegorô (絞の染五郎) holding his hand under a small waterfall

Robinson: S42.6


Scene: Ude no Kisaburô (腕の喜三郎) seated and half naked about to saw off his arm at the elbow

Robinson: S42.7



Scene: Yume no Ichirobei (夢の市郎兵衛) in a truculent attitude wearing wide hat and voluminous clothes

Robinson: S42.8



Scene: Muramatsu no Kihei (判物の喜兵衛) with the rebus puzzle on his back

Robinson: Not listed


Scene: Possibly Usui no Sadamitsu treading on a wolf

Robinson: Not listed


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