Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Faithful Samurai, Oboshi Rikiya Yoshikane

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798-1861)
Title: 2. Oboshi Rikiya Yoshikane
Series: Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai
Publisher: Ebiya Rinnosuke
Date: 1847-1848
Dimensions: 24.7 x 35.6 cm
Condition: Minor foxing. Some corners backed. Paper partially soiled. Pinhole.



If push comes to shove
throw down your life if you must -
viewing snow drops fall


The haiku concluding the accompanying text of Rikiya's miniature biography expresses the young warriors determination to the forty-seven rōnin's cause. The son of Ōboshi Yoshio, the leader of the revenge plot to reclaim their executed lord's dignity, his father was initially hesitant to let him join the other warriors in their quest for redemption. Although tall and strong for his age, Ōboshi acknowledged his son's sensitivity, especially in regards to his mother, fearing he might eventually regret joining the rōnin's mission. Overhearing this excuse, Rikiya was enraged and proved his dedication to his father by preparing to commit seppuku right away. Restrained by his fellows, Ōboshi recognised his son's commitment and finally brought him in on the plan. In the series, he is shown seated with a spear like his father. Hanging from just below the spear head, he holds the helmet and dogtooth robe associated with the forty-seven rõnin.

More Information
Artist Name Kuniyoshi Utagawa
Title 2. Oboshi Rikiya Yoshikane
Subject Samurai & Male
Dimensions 24.7 x 35.6 cm
Series The Faithful Samurai
Publisher Ebiya Rinnosuke