Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Faithful Samurai, Oribe Yahei Kanemaru

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798-1861)
Title: 21. Oribe Yahei Kanemaru
Series: Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai
Publisher: Ebiya Rinnosuke
Date: 1847-1848
Dimensions: 24.8 x 35.6 cm
Condition: Wormhole restored. Pinholes. Minor foxing. Small stain on bottom right corner. Minor tear top left corner.


Yahei, a veteran warrior, is cloaked in the rōnin's dog tooth robe and wields a spear in preparation for battle. Despite being seventy-eight years old, the warrior joins the other forty six rōnin on the attack of the Moronao mansion. A complete warrior at heart, Yahei was still greatly excited to hear of the exploits and battles of the younger samurai around him. But upon hearing of his lord's death at the cruel tactics of his enemy Moronao, Yahei readied himself along with the other faithful retainers to avenge their master. Japan was a feudal society during the Edo period (1603-1868) and was strongly conditioned by Confucian morals and philosophy. Such dedication to one's master, who was essentially a great father figure, was an action that could be considered correct or courageous, despite deviations from the law. During the attack, Yahei fought beside his son, using his experience with the spear to fell his enemies; this innocuous portrait belying his years of tested warfare.

More Information
Artist Name Kuniyoshi Utagawa
Title 21. Oribe Yahei Kanemaru
Subject Samurai & Male
Dimensions 24.8 x 35.6 cm
Series The Faithful Samurai
Publisher Ebiya Rinnosuke