Artist: Utagawa Yoshitora (歌川芳虎)

Print: The Defeat of the Mongol Invasion (Mōko zokusen taiji no zu - 蒙古賊舟退治之図)

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Dates: 1863,created
Dimensions: 28.125 in,14.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Sigend: Yoshitora ga (芳虎画)
Publisher: Iseya Kanekichi
(Marks (Marks 145 - seal 21-059)
Combined censor and date seal: aratame and 8/1863

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston ; Waseda University;

Physical description:

This triptych is illustrated in color in The Mongol Invasions of Japan 1274 and 1281 by Stephen Turnbull. Below the image Turnbull wrote: "This triptych by Yoshitora shows the kamikaze striking the Mongol fleet. A number of kami, dressed as heavenly generals, encourage the storm... However, note that this piece is not shown with the sheets in the right order.

A partial description of one of the attempts at an invasion reads:

"Some vessels went down; others were dashed against rocks or beached. Those out in the deep waters of the bay cut their anchor ropes and tried to ride out the storm. There is some dispute over the actual loss of life, but it was clearly on an enormous scale, although the destruction to the ships rather than the loss of manpower may have been a more important factor in causing the invasion to be finally abandoned. A Korean source is quite precise about Korean losses. It says that of 26,989 Koreans who had set out with the Eastern Route Army, 7,592 did not return. This is a casualty rate including dead, captives and missing of about 30 per cent. Chinese and Mongol sources are less precise, but indicate a casualty rate of between 60 and 90 per cent. What is more telling about the debacle is the behaviour of the expedition's leaders, who decided to gather together what was left of the invasion fleet and head back to China and Korea. They left behind thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of soldiers and sailors who were found drifting on pieces of wood or who had been washed ashore on the Matsuura peninsula or on Takashima itself. The Japanese defenders immediately began going round and slaughtering the survivors, although we are told that they deliberately spared the Song Chinese whom they felt had been coerced into joining the attack on Japan."


Part of the text in the blue cartouche in the upper left reads: 弘安四年正月蒙古の軍舩筑紫に渡来なしけれバ鎌倉より討手を向らるゝに日蓮上人に曼陀羅を乞て是を軍深にひるがへすに忽暴風吹起りて九百余艘の賊舩悉く海底にしづミける.