Yoshikazu Utagawa, Meeting Demons of Oeyama, Shuten-doji


Artist: Yoshikazu Utagawa (Active in 1850s-1870s)
Title: Minamoto no Yorimitsu (Raiko) Meeting Demons of Oeyama
Publisher: Izumiya Ichibei
Date: 1858
Size: (L)36.7 x 24.4 (C)37.0 x 24.9 (R)37.0 x 25.0 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

After a series of mysterious disappearances near Mt. Oe, the Emperor called upon the famous samurai Yorimitsu to attack the mountain where the lair of the culprit demon was thought to be. On their mission, Yorimitsu and his retinue disguised themselves as ascetic priests and deceived the demon lord Shuten-doji ('the drunkard demon') by offering him divine saké, rendering him incapacitated. With the demon lord subdued, the warriors stormed the lair and beheaded the immobile Shuten-doji. However, the powerful demon did not die immediately and with fangs open wide, hurled his head toward Yorimitsu. In the end, Yorimitsu survives the surprise attack by wearing two more helmets to defend himself.


This print depicts the moment when Shuten-doji is about to drink the saké that will bring his downfall while being entertained by his visitors. Smaller demons enjoy the feast, unaware of events that are about to unravel. The lavish room and the colourful skin of the demons render the whole composition in an otherworldly light.

Yoshikazu Utagawa (act. 1850 - 1870)

Yoshikazu started his artistic career as a pupil of Kuniyoshi Utagawa. Later on, he designed prints in the Yokohama school style, his subject matter including foreign customs and manners as well as landscapes and warriors.

More Information
Print FormatTriptych
ArtistYoshikazu Utagawa (act. 1850 - 1870)
SubjectSamurai & Male, Ghosts & Religion
Size(L)36.7 x 24.4 (C)37.0 x 24.9 (R)37.0 x 25.0 cm
Condition ReportThin paper, horizontal centre folds, a few pinholes, wear on the edges and light creases throughout.
publisherIzumiya Ichibei:1770-1886