Kuniyoshi: Mitsukaze and Kappa (Yokai) (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Title: Mitsukaza Fighting a Kappa
Series: Mirror of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Retainers (Seichû gishin meimei kagami)
Date: 1857

Yazama Shunroku Mitsukaze has thrown a kappa. Kappa are amphibian-like creatures who live in or near water. This one has froglike skin and the depression on the head that holds water that is a source of its supernatural power. Here it is shown with yellow eyes and sharp teeth, and wears the kimono of an ordinary woman (perhaps as a disguise?). The rain comes down slantwise, and Mitukaze’s umbrella is seen overturned in the background. His expressive hands and stern features reflect the drama of the scene. It is raining and they are right next to a river or canal, so encountering a kappa would make sense in this environment. This is one of the top two designs in the series, probably because it does not actually show one of the 47 Ronin in an ordinary situation. Even Kuniyoshi’s boundless creativity might have been taxed by the endless appetite for Chushingura (47 Ronin) scenes at thetime.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Mint.
Dimensions: ôban (38 x 25.8 cm)
Publisher: Horikoshi
Literature: Robinson #S90.40.
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga