Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Ogata Shūma Hiroyuki (尾形周馬寛行) from the series Eight Hundred Heroes of the Japanese Shuihuzhuan (Honchō Suikoden gōyū happyakunin no hitori - 本朝水滸伝剛勇八百人一個)

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Dates: 1830s,created
Dimensions: 10.125 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Kagaya Kichiemon
(Marks 195 - seal 22-027)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Museum of Asian Art; Waseda University - a completely different representation from 12/1866 by Yoshiiku of Ogata Shūma Hiroyuki;

Physical description:

"The exotic weapons wielded with finesse and often brutal consequences by the Chinese heroes featured in Kuniyoshi's early Suikoden series... contributed tremendously to the popularity of those designs. The weapon used by Japanese heroes were obviously more familiar to warrior print consumers, but Kuniyoshi always seemed to find interesting ways to deploy them. In this print, the exceptionally large gun Jiraiya is about to jam behind the skull of the serpent provides the focal point of this design and the primary axis around which Kuniyoshi constructed this composition."

Quoted from: Masterful Illusions... (see below), entry by Allen Hockley, p. 206.


Basil Robinson wrote in 1982: "Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki (later known as Jiraiya), with a heavy gun, overcoming a huge snake which had preyed on his friends the toads."


Illustrated in:

1) in Ukiyo-e dai musha-e ten - 浮世絵大武者絵展 - (The Samurai World in Ukiyo-e), edited by Yuriko Iwakiri, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2003, #161, p. 61.

2) In black and white in Chimi moryō no sekai : Ukiyoe : Edo no gekiga--reikai, makai no shujinkō-tachi (浮世絵魑魅魍魎の世界: 江戶の劇画 : 霊界魔界の主人公たち) by 中右瑛 (Nakau Ei), Ribun Shuppan, Tokyo, 1987, p. 67. [The text is entirely in Japanese.]

3) In a full page color reproduction in Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints in the Anne ban Biema Collection, p. 207.