Takeda Katsuchiyo Killing an Old Tanuki in the Moonlight

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts: Picture of Takeda Katsuchiyo Killing an Old Tanuki in the Moonlight
(Shingata sanjurokkaisen: Takeda Katsuchiyo tsukiyo no rori o utsu no zu)

signed Yoshitoshi, with artist's seal Taiso, carver's seal Enkatsu to, and publisher's date seal Meiji nijuninen, shigatsu, juka; Sasaki Toyokichi (Meiji 22 [1889], April 10) of Sasaki Toyokichi

oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 9 7/8 in., 36.9 by 25.1 cm

This scene illustrates an episode from the story of Takeda Shingen (Takeda Katsuchiyo, 1521-1573), taken from the 1808 account of Shingen's boyhood military training in Illustrated War Stories of the Koetsu Region (Ehon koetsu gunki), written by Shungyosai Hayami (d. 1823). While Shingen was attending to his studies, the wooden horse on which he stored his saddle began testing his knowledge of military strategy. The young warrior dispatched with the wooden horse, from which sprung a tanuki (a badger-like animal sometimes identified as a raccoon dog). In Japanese folklore, tanuki are creatures with mischievous natures and the power of transfiguration who rarely intend harm upon their victims.

In adulthood, Shingen became a daimyo and gained a reputation as a brilliant tactician during the 16th-century conflicts between Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) and Akechi Mitsuhide (1528-1582). Though Shingen would be killed by a bullet while besieging a castle of rival Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578), his last instruction was to keep news of his death a secret to avoid demoralizing his army. As a result, he would not be buried for three years.

Keyes 1983, p. 488, no. 509.3
Stevenson 1983, p. 24, no. 3
Segi 1985, p. 76, no. 94.4
van den Ing & Schaap 1992, p. 141, no. 65.3
Stevenson 2005, p. 88, no. 3



Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

site last updated
June 16, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475