Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) (artist 01/01/1797 – 04/14/1861)
Inuta Kobungo Yasuyori [犬田小文吾忬順] with the child Inue Shimbei Masashi (犬江親兵衛仁) fending off an attack - from the series The One and Only Eight Dog History of Old Kyokutei, Best of Refined Authors (Kyokutei-ō seicho Hakkenshi zui-ichi - 曲亭翁精著八犬士随一)
9.75 in x 14.125 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: Toshidama (in red)
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yōhachi (Marks 391 - seal 16-083)
National Museums of Scotland - lacking the artist's toshidama seal and that of the publisher, too
British Museum - early 1850s Kuniyoshi diptych with Inuta Kobungo Yasuyori
British Museum - ca. 1848 another representation of this character by Kuniyoshi
Funabashi City Library
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg - proof print
Lyon Collection - another copy of this print
Hiroshige Museum of Art, Ena
Tateyama City Museum (via Cultural Heritage Online) The quality of the printing of this piece would indicate that it is from an early edition. (Compare, for example, the copy in the Museums of Scotland, found in the link above.) The details of the tattoo of the man who is being throttled by Yasuyori with his right hand, the man who has raised a geta into the air in an effort to strike our main protagonist, the greatest insult of all, that man's tattoo on his left arm appears to show a woman, perhaps a courtesan, walking beneath an umbrella being held over her. The shoulder of his right arm is decorated with flowers against a dark ground. But most striking element of all is the hero's robes showing birds in flight in the upper part and a shachi (鯱), a fantastic dolphin-like creature, that was often used as an elaborate rooftop adornment. These creatures, occasionally gilded, were placed on the rooftops of Nagoya and Okayama castle. Clearly that is what is being portrayed here. Use the enlarging tool to see this more distinctly.
Inuta Kobungo was a former sumō wrestler.
Andreas Marks gives the dates of ca. 1836-38 for this series.
Illustrated in Robinson: S5 pp. 106/107.
There are two copies of this print in the Lyon Collection. For the other one see #166. There is also a copy of this print in the collection of the British Museum.
Nishimuraya Yohachi (西村屋与八) (publisher)
Hakkenden (The Eight Dog Heroes - 八犬伝) (genre)
sumō (相撲) (genre)
Kyokutei Bakin (曲亭馬琴) (author)