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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Kuniyoshi’s Heroes of China and Japan

A catalogue of the Ashmolean’s collection of warriors by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) by Oliver Impey and Mitsuko Watanabe (published Oxford, 2003).

Kuniyoshi’s Heroes of China and Japan by Oliver Impey and Mitsuko Watanabe

Publications online: 20 objects

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The warrior Inaue Daikurō discharging a cannon

  • Literature notes

    Inaue Daikurō, (here Inaue Daikurō Masatada) was a vassal of the Saitō family at the time when Katō Kiyomasa (1562-1622) was called Toranosuke. Daikurō fought with Kimura Matazō (here Shimura Masazō) while Kiyomasa was patrolling Ōmi Nagahama; Kiyomasa reconciled them and they later became his followers. Later, Daikurō achieved much distinction in the battle, including against the Chinese in Korea in 1597. There, he was admired for his remarkable achievement in fighting off a host of more than forty thousand enemies, through his successful use of rifles, and of throwing stones and trees.

    This print shows 'Inaue Daikurō' at this battle, discharging a huge cannon as if it were a gun, his sashimono (war-flag) adorned with a skull.
  • Description

    This print depicts the warrior Inoue Daikurō Nagayoshi, who led a tiny force of Japanese soldiers to victory over an army of 40,000 Chinese warriors during the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea in the 1590s. Here he aims an enormous cannon, illustrated by Kuniyoshi to emphasize the warrior’s great strength and courage. The peony flower which lies at Nagayoshi’s feet is a Chinese symbol of affluence; perhaps it indicates the Chinese defeat in this battle.

  • Details

    Series
    Tales of Heroes of the Chronicles of the Great Peace
    Associated place
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of creation)
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of publication)
    Date
    1847 - 1850
    Artist/maker
    Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797 - 1861) (designer)
    Ryūkatei Tanekazu (1804 - 1858) (author)
    Associated people
    Yamamotoya Heikichi (active early 19th century - 1886) (publisher)
    Inoue Daikurō (active 16th century) (subject)
    Murata Heiemon (active 1843 - 1853) (censor)
    Mera Ta’ichirō (active c. 1848 - 1853) (censor)
    Material and technique
    woodblock
    Dimensions
    mount 55.5 x 40.4 cm (height x width)
    sheet 36.2 x 25 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    1
    Credit line
    Presented by George Grigs, Miss Elizabeth Grigs, and Miss Susan Messer, in memory of Derick Grigs, 1971.
    Accession no.
    EA1971.58
  • Further reading

Location

    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.

 

Publications online

  • Kuniyoshi’s Heroes of China and Japan by Oliver Impey and Mitsuko Watanabe

    Kuniyoshi’s Heroes of China and Japan

    Inaue Daikurō, (here Inaue Daikurō Masatada) was a vassal of the Saitō family at the time when Katō Kiyomasa (1562-1622) was called Toranosuke. Daikurō fought with Kimura Matazō (here Shimura Masazō) while Kiyomasa was patrolling Ōmi Nagahama; Kiyomasa reconciled them and they later became his followers. Later, Daikurō achieved much distinction in the battle, including against the Chinese in Korea in 1597. There, he was admired for his remarkable achievement in fighting off a host of more than forty thousand enemies, through his successful use of rifles, and of throwing stones and trees.

    This print shows 'Inaue Daikurō' at this battle, discharging a huge cannon as if it were a gun, his sashimono (war-flag) adorned with a skull.
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