Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Inue Shinbei (犬江親兵衛) from the series Loyal Heroes of the Hakkenden (Giyū Hakkenden - 義勇八犬伝)

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Dates: circa 1849,created
Dimensions: 9.125 in,13.625 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: kiri in red
Publisher: Shimizuya (Marks U287 - seal 21-154)
Censor seals: Hama and Magome

Related links: Waseda University; Tateyama City Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art - an album of 58 prints, their battered copy is number 29; British Museum - another Kuniyoshi of this figure wearing a different robe decorated with toy dogs;

Physical description:

The Eight Dog Chronicles (Nansō Satomi Hakkenden) is a 106 volume epic novel by Kyokutei Bakin. It was written and published over a period of nearly thirty years (1814 to 1842). Bakin had gone blind before finishing the tale, and he dictated the final parts to his daughter-in-law Michi.

Set in the tumultuous Sengoku period (350 years before Bakin lived), Hakkenden is the story of eight samurai half-brothers--all of them descended from a dog and bearing the word "dog" in their surnames--and their adventures, with themes of loyalty and family honor, as well as Confucianism, bushido and Buddhist philosophy. One of the direct inspiration sources of the novel is the 14th-17th century Chinese epic novel Outlaws of the Marsh (Suikoden). [This information is taken directly from Wikipedia.]


In 2011 there was an exhibition of prints called "Water Margin versus Hakkenden" shown at the Senshu University Library. The poster shows two images in a circle. The left half is a partial image of Gyōja Bushō, a Suikoden hero, fist-pounding a tiger, while the right side is a detail from the print seen here.


Another copy of this print was also included in an exhibition from from March 11, 2017 to May 7, 2017 at the Fuchu-shi Art Museum.


It should be noted that this hero's name is sometimes written with an 'em' and sometimes with an 'en', but we now feel that the 'en' spelling/pronunciation is more acceptable.


Illustrated in black and white in Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst • Köln by Werner Speiser, p. 274, pl. 220. The museum identifies the figure as the actor Iwai Kumesaburō (III).