Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Sasai Ukon Masanao (笹井右近尚直 - actually Sakai Ukon Masanao [坂井右近政尚])
from the series Heroes of the Great Peace (Taiheiki eiyūden - 太平記英勇傳)

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Dates: circa 1848 - 1849,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription: Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: kiri
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
(Marks 595 - seal 04-007)
Censor seals: Mera and Murata

Related links: British Museum; Tokyo Metropolitan Library;

Physical description:

Sakai Masanao committed suicide on the battlefield. There is another print in this series of Masanao's son, Sakai Kyuzo, who also died on the same battlefield.

Masanao was a loyal supporter of Oda Nobunaga. When the latter was confronted by Asai Nagamasa (1545-73) and Asakura Yoshikage (1533-73) at the foot Mt. Hiei, he sent Masanao behind the enemy lines to capture the enemies food supplies. He succeeded to some extent by frightening away the soldiers who were guarding these. Masanao loaded the food onto a ship to take back to Nobunaga. While he was waiting for a second ship to take him and his men back too, the enemy counterattacked.

Here, in this print, Masanao is standing on a large tree trunk looking for the ship which would take him back to his master. Clearly it didn't come in time.