Artist: Yashima Gakutei (八島岳亭)

Print: Hōjō Tokiyori (北條時頼) from the series
Twenty-Four Generals for the Katsushika Circle
(Katsushika nijūshishō - 葛飾廿四将)

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Dates: circa 1821,created
Dimensions: 7.375 in,8.375 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Gakutei (岳亭)
Artist's seal: Sadaoka

Related links: Harvard Art Museums; Rijksmuseum; Lyon Collection - another surimono from this series;

Physical description:

Shikishiban surimono from the series 24 Generals. - Hōjō Tokiyori (1177-1263) "... the second son of Tokiuji, was the regent for the military government in Kamakura He was an assiduous scholar devoted to learning, and he encouraged literary studies and poetic composition among members of the military class. Gakutei shows him reading by lamplight, seated before an elaborate coral book stand.

The picture is from a series of twenty-four pictures of Japanese warriors and generals commissioned by the Katsushika Group led by the poet Bunbunsha Kanikomaru. The background of each picture is a bold decorative, over-all pattern of cranes in circular medallions, printed in light yellow.

The poem by Shōsō Chie alludes to the story of the poor Chinese student Sun Kang who could not afford a lamp or candles, but pursued his studies throughout the winter by the light of the moon and stars reflected in the snow. 'The snow that I depended on has melted, but I can read my books by the light kindled in the window by the first plum blossoms.' (Tanominishi yuki wa kiete mo fumi manabu mado ni hi tomosu ume no hatsuhana."

Quoted from: Keyes, Surimono: Privately Published Japanese Prints in the Spencer Museum of Art, p. 36. Illustrated in color on page 37.


The Rijksmuseum web site says in translation: "Hôjô Tokiyori (1227-1256) was the prime minister of the Kamakura shogun Kujô Yoritsugu. Tokiyori was his loyal adviser and was very aware of the need of the people."


The Mongols attacked Japan while Tokiyori's son was shōgun.

Printed with ink, color, mica, metallic pigment and embossing. No one knows who chose the theme for this series. However, it has been noted that a series of 24 generals is uncommon. Also, it should be pointed out that all of the prints in this series have the same background of decorative medallions enclosing stylized cranes.