True Portraits of the Faithful Samurai

(Gishi shinzô, 義士真像)

1853

 

In 1702, Lord Asano of Akô was provoked by Kira Kozukenosuke Yoshinaka into drawing his sword in the shogun’s palace, for which he was forced to take his own life, and his estate was confiscated.  Forty-seven of Lord Asano’s retainers, who were now rônin (samurai without masters), planned and carried out a successful attack on Kira’s palace.  Kira’s head was cut off with the same dagger Lord Asano used to commit seppuku.  (The term “hara-kiri”, although more common in English than “seppuku”, is considered in Japan to be a vulgar and disrespectful description of an honorable act.).  The 46 surviving rônin were forced to take their own lives.  These events were made into the play, ‘Kanadehon Chûshingura’.  This series of prints portrays some of the 47 rônin.  The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban. 

 

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Samurai: Fifty-five year old Hara Gôemon Mototoki crouching with an eager expression

Publisher:

Robinson: S80.1

 

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Samurai: Thirty-three year old Tomimori Sukeemon Masakata seated with a spear

Publisher:

Robinson: S80.2

 

Samurai: Thirty-one year old Takebayashi Sadashichi Takashige (武林定七隆重), the historical Takebayashi Tadashichi Takashige,  seated with a spear

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.3

 

 

 

Samurai: Thirty-six year old Kataoka Dengoemon Takafusa (片岡傳五右衛門高房) feeling the edge of his sword

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

Robinson: S80.4

 

 

Samurai: Thirty-six year old Mimura Jiroemon Kanetsune (三村路良左衛門包常) seated with a spear

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

Robinson: S80.5

 

Samurai: Seventy-one year old Oribe Yahei Kanamaru (織部矢兵衛金丸), the historical Horibe Yahei Kanamaru, seated holding his helmet

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

Robinson: S80.6

 

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Samurai: Twenty-three year old Katsuta Shinemon Taketaka standing with drawn sword

Publisher:

Robinson: S80.7

 

Samurai: Twenty-eight year old Yada Gorozaemon Suketake (矢田呉郎右衛門助武) standing with his hand on his sword

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.8

 

Samurai: Twenty-seven year old Onodera Mitsuemon Hidetomi (小埜寺光右衛門秀富) seated holding a sheathed sword

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.9

 

Samurai: Twenty-six year old Okajima Yasuemon Tsunetatsu (岡嶋安右衛門常樹), the historical Okajima Yasoemon Tsuneshige, standing with a drawn sword

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

Robinson: S80.10

 

Samurai: Seventeen year old Yatô Yomoshichi Norikane (矢頭与茂七教兼), the historical Kato Yomoshichi Norikane, standing with a spear

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

Robinson: S80.11

 

Samurai: Thirty-seven year old Kanzaki Yagorô Noriyasu (千崎矢五郎則休), the historical Senzaki Yagoro Noriyasu, standing with a bow

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

Robinson: S80.12

 

Samurai: Thirty-one year old Ôtaka Gengo Tadao (大鷹源吾忠雄) seated holding a writing brush and notebook

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.13

 

Samurai: Fifteen year old Ôboshi Chikara Yoshikane (大星主税良金) seated on a stool and holding a spear

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.14

 

Samurai: A three-quarter back view of thirty-three year old Fuwa Katsuemon Masatane (不破勝右衛門正種) standing

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.15

 

Samurai: Sixty-two year old Yoshida Chûzaemon Kanesuke (吉多忠左衛門兼亮) seated with a determined expression

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.16

 

Samurai: A back view of twenty-four year old Isogaya Jurozaemon Masahisa (磯合重郎右衛門正久) seated with his face in profile

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.17

 

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Samurai: Thirty-three year old Orinabe Yasubei Taketsune standing with a drawn sword and shading his eyes

Publisher:

Robinson: S80.18

 

Samurai: Thirty-four year old Ôishi Seizaemon Nobukiyo (大石清左衛門信清) standing with a spear and his hand on his the hilt of his sword

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

Robinson: S80.19

 

Samurai: A back view of twenty-four year old Okuta Sadaemon Yukitaka (奥多貞右衛門行高) standing with his face in profile

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

Robinson: S80.20

 

Samurai: Fifty year old Chiba Saburohei Mitsutada (千馬三郎兵衛光忠) seated holding his bow

Publisher: Mita-ya Kihachi

Robinson: S80.21

 

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Samurai: Twenty-five year old Hazama Jujirô Mitsuoki standing with his spear over his shoulder

Publisher:

Robinson: S80.22

“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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