Utagawa Kuniyoshi: Kusatsu - Honolulu Museum of Art

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Title: Kusatsu

Date: c. 1843 - 1847

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Source: Honolulu Museum of Art
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Kuniyoshi was extremely interested in legendary heroes, particularly those associated with war and famous battles. The subject of this print is Minamoto no Yorimitsu (948-1041), also known as Minamoto no Raikö, a famed oni (demon) slayer, reaching for his sword. Kuniyoshi disguises the Spider Demon as a nighttime visitor, but the hero remains alert and prepared to destroy the enemy. A loyal warrior of the Fujiwara clan, Yorimitsu was known for his military exploits and rewarded for his service. He was commander of a regiment of the Imperial Guard and a secretary in the Ministry of War. Demons depicted in Japanese prints have become a favorite subject matter for contemporary tattoo artists. (Tattoo exhbition 2005)

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