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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Fukishima Masamori (吹嶋政守) from the series Heroes of the Great Peace (Taiheiki eiyuden - 太平記英勇傳)

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Dates: circa 1848 - 1850,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
一勇斎国芳画
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
(Marks 595 - seal 04-007)
Censor seals: Mera and Murata
Number 25 in a circle - 十十五

Related links: British Museum; Lyon Collection - print of Hisamatsu who did battle with Masanori;

Physical description:

The curatorial notes from the British Museum say: "Fukishima Masamori (the historical Fukushima Masanori) fighting three assailants, with two spears pointed at him by unseen opponents."

Fukushima Masanori (福島正則: 1561-1624) "An adopted son of Masamitsu, first served Hashiba Hideyoshi, who in 1583 had him appointed Saemon-no-suke, and afterwards game him the castle of Kiyosu (Owari) as a fief with a revenue of 200,000 koku. After the death of Hideyoshi in order to attach Masanori to his party. Ieyasu gave his adopted daughter in marriage to Masayuki, Masanori's son. In 1600, Masanori besieged Gifu, and made himself master of the place; then at the battle of Sekigahara, he routed the troops of Ukida Hideie. He received as a reward the daimyate [sic?] of Hiroshima (Aki) with a revenue of 498,000 koku. In 1610, he was charged by Ieyasu with the reconstruction of the castle of Nagoya; Masanori did all he could to evade that ruinous corvee, but it was in vain. From that time, the relations with the Shōgun became continually more strained. At the time of the Ōsaka campaign (1615) Masanori asked to accompany the shogunal army; Ieyasu obliged him to remain in Edo. Finally in 1619, he was accused of bad administration; his Hiroshima daimyate [sic?] was taken from him and that of Kawanaka-jima (Shinano) with a revenue of 45,000 koku was given him in exchange."

Quoted from: Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan by E. Papinot, p. 108.

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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. 89.

Varshavskaya gives the text on the print on page 15 as:

[Fukishima Masamori] was the only son of a cooper from a village in Owari province. when he was three years old they would leave him bound by a cord at the waist to a millstone, but he would crawl about moving [the millstone] and pulling it around so superhuman was his strength. Hisayoshi... saw this and, finding it remarkable, begged the boy's parents to let him be his vassal. Indeed, when [Masamori] grew up, he followed [Hisayoshi] and accomplished numerous feats in various provinces. Above all he distinguished himself in the great battle of Shizugamine... when he slew Aigō Gozaemon... and unparalleled brave warrior of the Northern Lands... astonished and scared the enemy. Moreover, whenever war was waged, when Masamori led the van, the victory was his. That to his many meritorious services he was granted vast lands in possession. Truly, his valour shines in all ages. Although once a dog boy and a woodcutter, Masamori's name did not remain in obscurity.

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The historical Fukushima Masanori

In the end notes to Heroes of the grand pacification: Kuniyoshi's Taiheiki eiyū den Elena Varshavskaya wrote on page 167: "Hideyoshi's cousin as their mothers were sisters. From an early age Fukushima was in Hideyoshi's service and was among his closet retainers. He had indeed glorified his name in the battle of Shizugatake... opening the list of 'seven best spear-fighters' - (shichihonyari. In medieval Japan traditionally two categories of heroes were appointed for the most significant battles. In addition to the grouping of seven best spear-fighters there was another, which included three best swordmen (mi furi tachi). During the battle of Shizugatake along with Fukushima Masanori the warriors listed in the group of shichihonyari were Katō Kiyomasa [et al.].... After Hideyoshi's death Fukushima fought with success on the side of the Tokugawa clan. However, the new regime felt suspicious`toward Hideyoshi's old vassals and soon after the ruin of Hideyoshi's family in 1615 Fukushima was relieved of the administrative duties. He was accused of administration and the large domains in Aki province, that were given to him for his meritorious exploits in the battle of Sekigahara, were taken away; he received a much smaller dominion in Kawanakajima of Shinano province and died there."

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There are 15 prints from this set in the Lyon Collection.