Art Meets Taboo in the Tradition of Japanese Tattoos
Enya Hankan Takasada, a young lord of the Asano clan, was sentenced to commit seppuku for drawing his dagger in the court after multiple insults by the bitter Kono Musashi-no-kami Moronao. Forty-seven of Enya's retainers successfully avenged the unjust death of their lord in this celebrated example of the samurai code of honor.
Series: Biographies of the Loyal Retainers (47 Ronin)
Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Ebiya Rinnosuke
The son of silk dyer, little is known about Ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi's early years, though he is said to have shown remarkable talent from a young age. At age 14 he was accepted to study woodblock printing under Utagawa Toyokuni I and would become one of his most successful students. In direct contrast to Hiroshige and Hokusai's peaceful views of a scenic Japan published in the 1830s and ‘40s, the following decades saw a rise in popular taste for the fierce, fearsome and fantastical in ukiyo-e, which Kuniyoshi embraced. In 1814, he left Toyokuni’s studio to pursue a career as an independent artist. Initially, he had little success, selling tatami mats in order to support himself. His fortunes changed in 1827 with his dramatic series 108 Heroes of the Suikoden, and from that point on, he became known for portrayals of famous samurai and legendary heroes. Kuniyoshi also worked in in other print genres, producing landscapes and bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women).
Japanese, 1797-1861, Japan, based in Japan