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Monkey (Saru - 申): The Nobleman's Son Ushiwakamaru (Onzōshi Ushiwakamaru) from the series Japanese Heroes for the Twelve Signs (Eiyū Yamato jūnishi - 英雄大倭十二支)

Identifier: 1854 Kuniyoshi monkey

Ushiwakamaru is practicing his martial skills which he learned from the tengu on Mt. Kuruma. Leaping high in the air, out of reach of the belligerent simians, Ushiwakamaru grasps a tree limb with his left hand while brandishing his closed fan in his right.

Note how the monkeys are using tree branches as weapons of their own. This reminds us of that seminal moment is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey when one of our primordial ancestors discovered tools/weapons.

Reference: B. W. Robinson, Kuniyoshi-The Warrior Prints, London, 1982, no. S84.

Even though the British Museum says that the publisher is Mitaya Kihachi, the mark on their copy is that of Mikawaya Kihei.

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