Artist: Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798-1861)
Title: Battle of Revenge in Hakone
Publisher: Nishimura Yohachi
Date: c. 1815-1845
Dimensions: (L) 23.4 x 35.5 (C) 25 x 35.5 (R) 23.8 x 35.4 cm
The battle of revenge in Hakone is a popular kabuki-theatre story, the decisive moment of which we are seeing in Kuniyoshi’s triptych of the same title.One of the heroes of the story, Iinuma Tatsugorou, is shown fighting on the far left, facing off against his enemy, Takiguchi Kouzuke who has killed his older brother and who kidnapped his wife.
On his quest for revenge, accompanied by his wife Hatsuhana, Tatsugorou lost use of both of his legs. Thanks to Hatsuhana, also a heroin of this story, who can be seen standing underneath a waterfall in the centre panel of the triptych, praying for her husband’s recovery and victory, Tatsugorou miraculously recovers the use of his legs and is able to defeat Kouzuke.
Fighting the group of bandits on the far right, is Hatsuhana’s brother, Shimobe Fudesuke. After the battle he discovers that Kouzuke had beheaded his sister for resisting him and the woman who was seen praying underneath the waterfall was her ghost, loyal and supportive even in death.