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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: No. 2 Itabashi (板橋): Inuzuka Shino (犬塚信乃) with Hikiroku (蟇六), Samojirō (左母二郎), and Dotarō (土太郎), from the series Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidō Road (Kisokaidō rokujūkyū tsugi no uchi - 木曾街道六十九次之内)

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Dates: 1852,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.375 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
一勇斎国芳画
Artist's seal: kiri
Publisher: Sumiyoshya Masagorō
(Marks 498 - seal 21-062)
Carver's seal: Hori Sennosuke
(彫工須川千之助)
Date seal: 5/1852
Censors' seals: Hama and Magome

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; British Museum; Tokyo Metropolitan Library; The Agency for Cultural Affairs; Hiroshige Museum of Art; Tateyama City Museum; Musée Cernuschi;

Physical description:

The scene in this print is from the incredibly popular novel The Eight Dogs of Satomi by Kyokutei Bakin. Each of the 8 heroes represents a different Confucian virture. Each has the kanji character for dog as part of his name. Notice the puppies surrounding the title cartouche in the upper right.

"In this scene... [Inuzuka Shino] tries to save his wicked uncle Hikiroku from drowning in the Kaniwa River. In fact, Hikiroku is able to swim and is really plotting to drown Shino with the help of Dotarō, who swims toward them underwater. Meanwhile, on the boat, another villain named Samojirō steals the precious heirloom sword Murasamemaru that has been entrusted to Shino, substituting an inferior sword so that the theft will not be discovered immediately. Shino escapes unharmed from the attempt on his life, but the loss of the sword will cause problems later on as the complicated plot unfolds."

Source and quote from: Utagawa Kuniyoshi: The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidō by Sarah E. Thompson, p. 20.