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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts: Picture of Takeda Katsuchiyo Killing an Old Tanuki in the Moonlight
(Shingata sanjurokkaisen: Takeda Katsuchiyo tsukiyo no rori o utsu no zu)
signed Yoshitoshi, with artist's seal Taiso, carver's seal Enkatsu to, and publisher's date seal Meiji nijuninen, shigatsu, juka; Sasaki Toyokichi (Meiji 22 , April 10) of Sasaki Toyokichi
oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 9 7/8 in., 36.9 by 25.1 cm
This scene illustrates an episode from the story of Takeda Shingen (Takeda Katsuchiyo, 1521-1573), taken from the 1808 account of Shingen's boyhood military training in Illustrated War Stories of the Koetsu Region (Ehon koetsu gunki), written by Shungyosai Hayami (d. 1823). While Shingen was attending to his studies, the wooden horse on which he stored his saddle began testing his knowledge of military strategy. The young warrior dispatched with the wooden horse, from which sprung a tanuki (a badger-like animal sometimes identified as a raccoon dog). In Japanese folklore, tanuki are creatures with mischievous natures and the power of transfiguration who rarely intend harm upon their victims.
In adulthood, Shingen became a daimyo and gained a reputation as a brilliant tactician during the 16th-century conflicts between Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) and Akechi Mitsuhide (1528-1582). Though Shingen would be killed by a bullet while besieging a castle of rival Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578), his last instruction was to keep news of his death a secret to avoid demoralizing his army. As a result, he would not be buried for three years.
Keyes 1983, p. 488, no. 509.3
Stevenson 1983, p. 24, no. 3
Segi 1985, p. 76, no. 94.4
van den Ing & Schaap 1992, p. 141, no. 65.3
Stevenson 2005, p. 88, no. 3