Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: On the sea at Mizumata in Hogo Province, Tametomo is shipwrecked in a storm (肥後国水股の海上...)

Bookmark and Share
Dates: circa 1836,created
Dimensions: 30.0 in,14.75 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed - right & left panels: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
center: Chōōrō Kuniyoshi ga (朝櫻樓国芳画)
Publisher: Fujiokaya Hikotarō
(Marks 062 - seals 26-122 center panel & 12-045 on left)
Censor's seal - right and center: kiwame

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Newark Museum of Art - a battered copy of the left-hand panel;

Physical description:

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston gives certain information as to the title at their online web site, but we don't believe that it is exactly correct. This may be due to a couple of reasons: 1) their copy of this triptych entered their collection in 1911. There was no Internet at that time for easy research and 2) their copy is trimmed a bit on the right hand panel where there title cartouche and information are available describing this scene. They give it as: (Higo no kuni Mizumata no kaijō ni te Tametomo nanpū ni au...) [肥後の国水俣の海上にて為朝難風に遭ふ...]

We do not doubt their translation. However, this triptych in the Lyon Collection allows us to see more fully the whole cartouche in the upper right hand corner and with the Internet as a tool we were able to find a more accurate but not necessarily perfect transcription: 肥後国水股の海上にて為朝難風に 遇舟くつがへらんとしたりし時讃岐の 院の冥助による高間ふうふの一念鮫に のりうつりて舜天丸紀平二をすくふ.


In this scene Tametomo and his men are beset by a dragon, tengu and a sea monster, looking very much like a giant crocodile.


I am writing this in July 2019. I note this so you will have a frame of reference. Recently a copy of this triptych was sold on the Japanese art market by a major dealer in ukiyo-e. That copy was masterfully splattered with gofun which was clearly intended to capture the sense of sea spray. The example in the Lyon Collection is also spattered, but much more subtly. This is especially visible if you use the enlarging tool to examine these panels more closely.

The use of this tool helped me notice another feature, that up until now I had missed: the fellow clinging to the sea monster in the lower left is also carrying a baby to his chest. What else have I missed in this riot of images? (JSV)


Illustrated in a large color reproduction in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior Prints by B. W. Robinson, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1982, pl. 36. T30. Robinson describes the tengu as flying to Tametomo's rescue.