Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Inumura Daikaku stabbing the gigantic cat from the series Kyokutei-ō seicho Hakkenshi zui-ichi The Eight Dog Heroes of the Master Author Old Kyokutei Bakin - 曲亭翁精著八犬士随一

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Dates: circa 1835 - 1836,created
Dimensions: 10.0 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga

Related links: British Museum; Tateyama City Museum; Hagi Uragami Museum of Art;

Physical description:

As described by the British Museum: "Inumura Daikaku driving his sword into a giant enchanted cat, which is wrapped in a long scroll."


"The most feared variety of demon-cat has a forked or double tail and is called nekomata, forked cat. In the 'Hakkenden', a novel by Bakin (1767-1848) a cat with double tail is killed by one of the heroes, one of the 'dogs'... Inamura Daikaku. The demon cat of Nabeshima has become a classic." Quoted from: The Animal in Far Eastern Art: And Especially in the Art of the Japanese Netzsuke, with References to Chinese Origins, Traditions, Legends, and Art by T. Volker, p. 27.


"Japan acquired not only the domestic cat (neko) from China but also superstitious about the animal, including the belief that it disguised itself in human, usually female, form. This tradition is reflected in Edo-period woodblock prints of a fierce and huge witch-cat being slain by Inumura Daikaku, a hero of the Hakkenden."

Quoted from: Symbols of Japan: Thematic Motifs in Art and Design by Merrily Baird, p. 126.


There is another, much more sedate, print featuring Inumura Daikaku in the Lyon Collection. It is by Shigeharu.

There is another copy of this print in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland. However, it no longer can be found online.


Illustrated in a small black and white reproduction in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior Prints by B. W. Robinson, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1982, p. 107. S5.8.