Stories of the Loyalty of Chivalrous Spirits: no. 7, Onodera Koemon Fujiwara Hidetomi
(Seichu gishin den: Onodera Koemon Fujiwara Hidetomi)
signed Kaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu, numbered shichi (seven) within a circular cartouche, with publisher's seal Masudaya (Masudaya Ginjiro), and combined censor and date seal Tatsu-roku, aratame (year of the dragon , 6th lunar month, examined)
oban tate-e 14 by 9 3/8 in., 35.6 by 23.7 cm
The series Stories of the Loyalty of Chivalrous Spirits (Seichu gishin den) depicts the forty-seven ronin loyal to daimyo Asano Naganori (1667-1701) whose story is told in the kabuki drama The Treasury of Loyal Retainers (Chushingura). While traditionally in the numerous kabuki plays devoted to this subject the names of the ronin were changed as a matter of course to satisfy Edo-period censors, in the atmosphere of relaxing restrictions of the early Meiji Period, Yoshitoshi was able to identify the true names of the ronin involved in the real-life Ako vendetta against Kira Yoshinaka (1641-1703) which was set into motion in 1701 and culminated in a daring and successful night attack in 1703.
Onodera Koemon Fujiwara Hidetomi was the foster son of Onodera Hidekazu, and through his father was bound to the deceased daimyo Naganori. Hidetomi and his foster father played an important role in finalizing the plans for the attack by going to Kira's mansion disguised as tradesmen to inspect the lay of the land. When the hour of attack was nigh, father and son shared a draught of sake and dried chestnuts, sardines, and sweets, knowing that they may not share a meal together again.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 34
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 107, no. 21.3
David R. Weinberg, Kuniyoshi: The Faithful Samurai, 2000, pp. 98-99 (re: story)
Yuriko Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi, 2014, p. 55, no. 73
(inv. no. 10-4341)
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