Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Inuta Kobungo Yasuyori (犬田小文吾悌須) from the series The Eight Dog Heroes of the Master Author Old Kyokutei Bakin (Kyokutei-ō seicho Hakkenshi zui-ichi - 曲亭翁精著八犬士随一)

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Dates: circa 1835,created
Dimensions: 9.625 in,14.375 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: Toshidama (in red)
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yōhachi
(Marks 391 - seal 16-083)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; British Museum; National Museums of Scotland;

Physical description:

Inuta Kobungo was a former sumo wrestler. You can see it in his stance and body build.


Andreas Marks gives the dates of ca. 1836-38 for this series.


"In Chapter 74 of Hakkenden, one of the heroes, Inuta Kobungo 犬田小文吾, outwrestles a violent bull, calms it down, and thus comes to the help of local villagers, who gratefully shower him with praise and admiration. A wealthy bull owner, Supotarō 清本太郎, invites him to stay overnight at his house." The master of the house serves him wine personally and the next day asks him to rest in a room set aside to honor people who have done a service to the village.

Later "The same passage has another example, in which Supotaro gives presents to Kobungo. Servants bring in several rolls of crinkled hemp cloth and a large quantity of coins. They say that, now that the weather is hot, the crinkled hemp will be useful on his travels. Also, Kobungo's feat is worth many coins because the bull that he subdued is notoriously violent. Kobungo responds, 'You didn't have to go to all this trouble..." Kobungo said this because it should be nothing for a samurai to wrestle a violent bull.

Source and quotes from: "The Playful Gloss. Rubi in Japanese Literature" by Chieko Ariga in Monumenta Nipponica, vol. 44, no. 3, Autumn, 1989, pp. 327-28.