Stories of Courageous Generals of the Provinces of Echigo and Kai

(Ketsu ysh den, 甲越勇將傳)

Publisher: Sumiyoshi-ya Masagor

c. 1848-1849

 

Takeda Shingen of Kai Province conquered Shinano Province in 1547, expelling Murakami Yoshiharu and Ogasawara Nagatoki, who turned to Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo Province for help. A series of battles between the forces of Takeda Shingen and the forces of Uesugi Kenshin were fought on the plain of Kawanakajima in the northern Shinano Province near the modern-day city of Nagano. The five major battles took place in 1553, 1555, 1557, 1561 and 1564. In addition to the above title, the title cartouches of S63.1 through S63.10 each bear the subtitle: Twenty-four Generals of the Takeda Clan (Takeda-ke nijushi-sho, 武田家廾四將). The title cartouches of S63.11 through S63.18 each bear the subtitle: Twenty-four Generals of the Uesugi Clan (Uesugi-shi nijushi-sho, 上杉氏廾四將). The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ban.

 

General: Takeda Daizen-no-tay Jugo-i-geken Shinano no kami Harunobu Nyd Shingen (武田大膳大夫従五位下 兼信濃守晴信入道信玄) standing in full armor and shading his eyes with his right hand

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 1

Robinson: S63.1

 

General: Takeda Sama-no-suke Nobushige (武田左馬之助信繁) helmetless, leaning on a sword enveloped in a cloud of battle-smoke with grey face and blood issuing from mouth

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: none

Robinson: S63.2

 

Some, and possibly all, of the designs in this series exist both with and without numbers. In this print, the number appears within a circle near the middle of the right edge. The numbered prints are slightly later than those that are unnumbered.

 

General: The one-eyed general Yamamoto Kansuke Nyd Dkisai Haruyuki (山本勘助入道道鬼蔡晴幸) badly wounded leaning on spear with one foot on a severed head

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 3

Robinson: S63.3

 

General: Anayama Izu no Kami Nobuyoshi (穴山伊豆守信良) defying the Uesugi troops on a breakwater of stones in basketwork

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 7

Robinson: S63.4

 

General: Yamagata Saburohei Masakage (山縣三郎兵衛昌景) bareheaded and with grey face plunging his sword into the neck of a fallen foe

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 10

Robinson: S63.5

 

General: Amari Saemon-no-j Haruyoshi (甘利左門尉晴吉) helmetless with his fallen horse holding an open black fan in his right hand and a spear in his left

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 13

Robinson: S63.6

 

General: Oyamada Bitch no Kami Masatatsu (小山田備中守昌辰) helmetless with a sword in his hand defiantly facing a volley of musket fire

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 17

Robinson: S63.7

 

General: Hybu-shy Toramasa (飫富兵部少輔虎昌) mounted, grasping a spear and glaring downwards

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: none

Robinson: S63.8

 

Title: Morozumi Bungo-no-kami Masakiyo, One of Three Heroic Deaths in Battle (San uchijini no uchi, Morozumi Bungo-no-kami Masakiyo, 三討死之内, 諸角豊後守昌清)

General: Morozumi Bungo no Kami Masakiyo falling on his sword with the point in his mouth as he is blown up by a landmine

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 23

Robinson: S63.9

 

General: Obata Matabei Kuniharu (小幡又兵衛国晴) cutting off the head of a spear while he grasps a standard in his left hand

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 21

Robinson: S63.10

 

General: Yamayoshi Gemba-no-j Chikafusa (山吉玄蕃允親章) struggling through a barrier of tree branches

Side: Takeda Shingen

Number on print: 10

Robinson: S63.10a

 

General: Kakizaki Izumi no Kami Kage-ie (柿崎和泉守景家) cutting off the corner of a tate (wooden shield) with a stroke of his sword

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: 13

Robinson: S63.11

 

General: Kurogane Kzuke no Suke Hidetake (鉄上野介英武) holding his horses bridle and looking over his shoulder

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: 16

Robinson: S63.12

 

General: Uno Sama-no-suke Takamasa (宇野左馬介高政), amid flying arrows, grasping a standard whose streamers half cover him

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: 18

Robinson: S63.13

 

General: Nagao Ttmi-no Kami Fujikage (長尾遠江守勝景) holding a sword while entering the enemys tent

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: 20

Robinson: S63.14

 

General: Matsumoto Mokusuke (松本杢助) on one knee, having just discharged a large gun

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: none

Robinson: S63.15

 

General: Onikojima Yatar Torahide (鬼児嶋弥太郎虎秀) struggling with a section of fence

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: 14

Robinson: S63.16

 

General: Usami Suruga no Kami Sadayuki (宇佐美駿河守定行), mounted on black horse deflecting a flying sword with the shaft of his spear

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: 8

Robinson: S63.17

 

I am grateful to Ward Pieters for locating this image.

 

General: Honj Echizen no Kami Shigenaga (本庄越前守繁長) defending himself with a shield against a shot

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: 22

Robinson: S63.17a

 

General: Sait Shimotsuke no Kami Tomonobu loading his musket with a ramrod in his mouth

Side: Uesugi Kenshin

Number on print: 24

Robinson: S63.18

This series is one of several designed by Kuniyoshi that are similar in appearance, having a single full-length figure on a more-or-less plane background with a descriptive text above. While some of these have the series title in distinctively shaped cartouches, several have the series titles in vertical red cartouches with convex tops and concave bottoms. This latter group of title cartouches are reproduced below.

Series title in Japanese: Meik hyaku y den

Series title in English: Stories of 100 Heroes of High Renown:

Robinson: S31

Series title in Japanese: Seich gishi den

Series title in English: Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai

Robinson: S54, except S54.38 and some copies of S54.39

Series title in Japanese: Seich gishi den no okori

Series title in English: Origins of Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai

Robinson: S54.38 and some copies of S54.39

Series title in Japanese: Seich gishi hottan

Series title in English: Origins of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai

Robinson: S55

Series title in Japanese: Seich gishin den

Series title in English: Stories of Faithful Hearts and True Loyalty

Robinson: S56

Series title in Japanese: Ketsu ysh den

Series title in English: Stories of Courageous Generals of the Provinces of Echigo and Kai

Robinson: S63

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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