Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)
Series: Sixty-nine Stations of Kisokaido Road (Kisokaido Rokuju-kyu Tsugi no Uchi)
Title: 34. Niekaw-juku in Shinano Province (34. Niekawa – Takeuchi no Sukune, Umashiuchi no Sukune)
Publisher: Kagaya Yasubei
Dimensions: 36.1 x 24.5 cm
The legendary figure of Takenouchi no Sukune is said to be a direct descendant of Japan’s earliest imperial family. He was known as a saniwa, a spirit medium able to receive oracles from the gods. The mystery surrounding his character is emphasised by his alleged long life: various sources and tales speak of Takenouchi living up to three hundred years of age, thus serving the reigns of many emperors formative to the Japanese nation. Takenouchi was once accused of treason to which he underwent a trial of boiling water to prove his unwavering loyalty. In Japan today, he is still enshrined as a kami, a shinto god, representative of good health and longevity.