Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) (artist 01/01/1797 – 04/14/1861)

Hakutenchō Riō (樸天鷗李應 - Li Ying) and Bossharan Bokukō (撲天雕李應,設遮攔穆弘 - Mu Hong) from the series One Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Shuihuzhuan (Tsūzoku Suikoden gōketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori - 通俗水滸伝豪傑百八人之一個)


ca 1827 – 1830
Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Kagaya Kichiebei
(Marks 194 - seal 22-024)
Censor's seal: kiwame
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
British Museum
Tokyo National Museum
National Museum of Asian Art
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Royal Museums of Art and History, Belgium (via Cultural Japan)

We first encounter Li Ying (Hakutenchō Riō in Japanese) in Chapter 47 of Outlaws of the Marsh, vol. II, p. 756 ff:

"Your master Li Ying, isn't he the one known in the gallant fraternity as Heaven Soaring Eagle?" queried Yang Xiong.

"The very same."

Shi Xin said: "I've heard that Li Ying of the Lone Dragon Mountain, is a chivalrous fellow. So this is where he's from. They say he is a remarkable fighter, a real man. We'll go to him.


The Ashmolean Museum at Oxford offers this information online:

Hakutenchō Riō was the head of the Dokuryūkōri (Lijia zhuang) township. Riō was an expert with a spear called kontetsutenkōsō, and carried five hitō (throwing knives) hidden away behind his armoured back. He is known to have killed an enemy a hundred yards away by throwing his hitō.

Bossharan Bokukō, born in Keiyōchin (Jiyang zhen), lived in the household of his father, Bokutaikō, who was very conservative but in contrast to his two sons who were rough and wild. Bokukō, together with the leaders of the Ryōsanpaku tried to enlist Gyokukirin Roshungi, a very wealthy pawnbroker from Peking skilled in the use of spears (tekōyari and bakutō), as the deputy commander of the Ryōsanpaku forces. In pursuit of their scheme, Bokukō, with Hakutenchō Riō and Sekihakki Ryūtō (Liu Tang) fought Roshungi, luring him deep into the mountains, by pretending to run away from him. After much fighting, they eventually persuaded him to join the Ryōsanpaku forces.


Li Ying, the Swooping Hawk (Bokuten'ō Riō), and Mu Hong, the Invincible (Bossharan Bokukō)

Edo period, about 1827–30 (Bunsei 10–Tenpō 1)



1) in Of Brigands and Bravery by Inge Klompmakers, 1998, #39c.

2) in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by B.W. Robinson, (1982), list #S2.2

3) in color in Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections: British Museum III, supervised by Muneshige Narazaki, Kodansha Ltd, 1988, #43.

4) in black and white as part of a triptych in Ukiyoe ni egakareta Chūgoku ten (浮世絵 に 描かれた 中国 展), Ukiyoe Ōta Bijutsukan, 1982, cat. #67, n.p.

warrior prints (musha-e - 武者絵) (genre)
Kagaya Kichiemon (加賀屋吉右衛門) (publisher)
Suikoden (水滸傳) (genre)
Tattoo (genre)