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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Kido Takuzaemon Nagachika (木戸宅左衛門長近 - actually Kido Sakuemon [木戸作右衛門]) from the series Heroes of the Great Peace(Taiheiki eiyūden - 太平記英勇傳)

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Dates: circa 1848 - 1849,created
Dimensions: 9.875 in,14.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription: Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
一勇斎国芳画
Artist's seal: kiri
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
(Marks 595 - seal 04-007)
Censor seals: Mera and Murata

Related links: British Museum; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Muzeum Sztuki i Techniki Japońskiej Manggha, Krakow;

Physical description:

The Ashmolean Museum curatorial files say of this print:

‘Kido Nagachika’ was a brave vassal of Konishi Yukinaga, 1558-1600, (here Kotachi Yukitaka), lord or Udo castle (called here Uda) in Higo. ‘Nagachika’, served with distinction during eight years service in ‘foreign countries’ (presumably meaning Korea) under Yukinaga. At one battle, when Yukitaka attacked the Tōdaimon (main entrance) of the castle of Seoul, ‘Nagachika’ compelled one of the captured enemies to guide him to the further side of the castle, where there was a water gate, a metal grid. He was able to force this gate, allowing the army of Yukinaga to enter and capture the castle.

This print shows ‘Nagachika’ using a wooden pole strapped in rope, trying to lever open the water gate.

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The text on this print as reported in Varshavskaya's book on page 150 is:

Kido Nagachika was a brave vassal of Konichi Yukitaka, the lord of Uta castle in Higo province. He was unparalleled in wisdom and courage. It is hard to enumerate the militry feats he accomplished in Yukitaka's service. Among the countless hard battles fought during the long campaign in the foreign country (Korea) it happened once that Konichi wished to separately [lead his troops] from Chūshū through the Large Eastern Gates - Tōdaimon, and so he departed there. When [his army] attained that place, [the men] could not easily enter through the stronghold which appeared impregnable. Takuzaemon made a captive serve as their guide and attempted a detour bearing far to the east, but the gates across the waterway turned out to be barred by an iron lattice. Seeing that, Takuzaemon separated the gun-stocks from the gun-barrels; with a rope he fastened ten barrels together, thrust them into the lattice aperture and exhibiting the power of Kongōrikishi, pushed them down. Here even so strong a water gate all at once collapsed. From there Konichi with his army after a short hand-to-hand fight captured the imperial castle. Yukitaka's troops emerged superior, they performed a great exploit, and this happened thanks to Nagachika's prowess.

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Illustrated in a full-page color reproduction in Heroes of the grand pacification: Kuniyoshi's Taiheiki eiyū den by Elena Varshavskaya, Hotei Publishing, 2005, p. 151.