The Three Brave Bombers
each sheet tipped-in on original mat backing within green presentation folder with label decorated with the flag of the rising sun bearing the print title, Nishiki-e Bakudan san'yushi (Brocade Print of the Three Brave Bombers), a shorter version of the title found on the right sheet of the triptych, Bakudan san'yushi (The Three Brave Bombers), and signed below, Sansei Konobu ga, engraved by Fujikawa Zosai, printed by Negita mannen, published by Murai Jirokichi, 1932
oban tate-e triptych 15 by 29 5/8 in., 38.1 by 75.1 cm
each original mounting 17 3/8 by 12 5/8 in., 44 by 32
On February 22, 1932, three young soldiers were inadvertently killed by an exploding Bangalore torpedo that they were carrying while attempting to penetrate section of barbed fortification during an assault on Chinese forces in Shanghai. The Japanese authorities and press quickly adapted the story as propaganda, describing the event as a purposeful action on the part of the heroic young men who strapped dynamite to their bodies and charge the enemy in a suicidal attack. The three soldiers, Eshita Takeji, Kitagawa Susumu, and Sakue Inosuke became martyrs, and became known variously as 'Three Brave Human Bombs,' 'Three Brave Human Bullets,' or the 'Three Brave Bombers' and the subject of six propaganda films and further celebrated with a specialty dish offered at the cafeteria at the Takashimaya department store, as well as brands of rice crackers and sake.
Philip K. Hu, ed., Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2016, p. 282-283, no. 136, accession no. 818.2010a-c
(inv. no. C-3037)
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
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site last updated
May 25, 2023
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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