Yoshikazu Utagawa, Meeting Demons of Oeyama, Shuten-doji

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Yoshikazu Utagawa (Active in 1850s-1870s)
Title: Minamoto no Yorimitsu (Raiko) Meeting Demons of Oeyama
Publisher: Izumiya Ichibei
Date: 1858
Condition report: Thin paper, horizontal centre folds, a few pinholes, wear on the edges and light creases throughout.
Size: (L)36.7 x 24.4 (C)37.0 x 24.9 (R)37.0 x 25.0 cm

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.

More Information
Artist Name Yoshikazu Utagawa
Title Minamoto no Yorimitsu (Raiko) Meeting Demons of Oeyama
Subject Samurai & Male, Ghosts, Spirits & Religion
Dimensions (L)36.7 x 24.4 (C)37.0 x 24.9 (R)37.0 x 25.0 cm
Publisher Izumiya Ichibei