Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: Chinzei Hachirō Tametomo (鎮西八郎為朝) watching the demons trying to pull the string of his bow

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Dates: circa 1820 - 1825,created
Dimensions: 10.0 in,14.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga
Publisher: Kawaguchiya Uhei
(Marks 232 - seal 21-142
Seal: kiwame

Related links: British Museum - Hokusai painting from 1811; Waseda University - Hokusai book illustration;

Physical description:

In Warriors of Old Japan and Other Stories, by Yei Theodora Ozaki, published in 1909 it says: "Long, long ago there lived in Japan a man named Hachiro Tametomo, who became famous as the most skilful archer in the whole of the realm at that time. Hachiro means "the eighth," and he was so called because he was the eighth son of his father, General Tameyoshi of the house of Minamoto. Yoshitomo, who afterwards became such a great figure in Japanese history, was his elder brother. Tametomo was therefore uncle to the Shogun Yoritomo and the hero Yoshitsune, of whom you will soon read. He belonged to an illustrious family indeed."

Tametomo was a remarkable youth who did not suffer fools easily. Because of this he once questioned the claims of one of the Taira emissaries. His impertinence led to his being exiled from his father's court. In many of the accounts of his exploits he ended up on the 'Island of Demons' - Onigashima, but remained undaunted. In time he gathered a followers. That was at this time that he acquired the name of Chinzei, which has been translated as 'the one who puts down the West.'

Tametomo had a number of encounters with demons and the stories morphed over the centuries. The futile efforts of the oni trying to pull the string of Tametomo's bow was popularized in print by Takizawa Bakin (1767-1848) and illustrated by his friend Hokusai in 1811. These were clearly the source of the Lyon Collection Kunisada print featured on this page.