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Woodblock print of beheaded Shuten-doji (酒呑童子) by Watanabe no tsuna ( (渡辺 綱, 953-1025) made by Utagawa Yoshitora (歌川 芳虎)



this woodblock print depict the battle of Minamoto no Yorimitsu (源 頼光, 948 – 29 Aout 1021) or Minamoto Raiko and his "shitenno" against Shuten Doji ( 酒呑童子) oni king from the oe mount and his oni . It s the final part of this story when the oni king was beheaded by Raiko  .

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This woodblock print depicts the end of the Shuten Doji story with the beheaded of the oni Shuten Doji ( Drunken Boy). The story  could tell under this shape :

During the reign of Emperor Ichijo  (一条天皇, July 15, 980 – July 25, 1011) a large number of missing people   were being reported in the capital city of Kyoto, most of the victims being young women . Abe no Seimei, the famous onmyodo diviner of the imperial court, determines that the oni-king of Mt. Ōe (later identified as Shuten-dōji) was responsible for the abductions. The Emperor then commanded Minamoto no Raikō (Minamoto no Yorimitsu(頼光, 948 – August 29, 1021))  to exterminate this demon. Raikō had his four lieutenants called the shitenno , Watanabe no Tsuna (渡邊) (953–1025) , Sakata no Kintoki (坂田金時) , Urabe no Suetake (卜部季武, 950 – 1022) and Usui Sadamitsu (碓井貞光). The group left Kyoto in the year 995.

Because demons are shape-shifters and formidable enemies, the group decides to pay homage to three shrines: Hachiman-jinja (八幡神社), shrine from hachiman (god of war ), Sumiyoshi-taisha (住吉大社)also a shrine with Hachiman , and Kumano shrine  . Later, the group meet the gods of the three shrines disguised as old men. The gods give Raikō the "sake which is divine elixir, poisonous to demons" (神便鬼毒酒, jinben kidoku shu) which will rob the ogres of their ability to fly and stupefy them. Even though Raikō is already carrying his own vermilion helm in his back-pack chest , he receives from the gods a protection to put under his helmet which he is instructed to wear when he decapitates the enemy.

Just before reaching the lair, Raikō's group encounters the hostage working as laundress, who becomes their informant. Here, she is a 18-year-old daughter of a courtier. She reveals that the lair which is called Iron Palace (Kurogane no gosho, 鐵の御所) lies inside the Demon's Cavern (Oni no iwaya 鬼の岩屋), and forewarns the group about the four ogres who are Shutendōji's lieutenants. The warriors, pretending to be priests, convinced the ogre-king to give them lodging. The ogre-king treated his guests with sake and began to tell the tale about himself, how he was called Shuten-dōji, the "sake-drinking lad" by his underlings for his love of drinking sake, and how the ogres had been displaced from their ancestral Hiei mountains (比叡山close to Kyoto ) when Enryaku-ji temple 延暦寺was built nearby. and have been at Mt. Ōe since the year 849 and also recounts how his henchman Ibaraki doji lost an arm in an encounter with Watanabe no  Tsuna, one of Raikō's men…

Raikō then offered Shuten dōji the sake given to him by one of the deities, which rendered him incapacitated. The warriors dressed up in armor and weapons which they concealed in their priestly back-pack chests called oi ().Then they stormed Shuten-dōji's sleeping quarters, and while the four deities held down the ogre's limbs, The warrior attack with his  sword  Dojigiri (童子切made by Hōki-no-Kuni Yasutsuna (伯耆国安綱)) , a national treasure blade ) and sever Shuten-dōji's head, the detached head attempts to get a bite and burn  at Raikō, and the hero is protected by two helmets stacked on his head: his Lion King helmet and under protection  the given him by the gods.. The female prisoners are liberated and the warriors return triumphant to Kyoto .

Utagawa Yoshitora (歌川芳虎)He was a  student of Kuniyoshi Utagawa. His real surname is Nagashima, and his first name is Tatsugoro). He became a student of Kuniyoshi at the age of eleven year old , and began drawing around Tenpo (1830-1844). He  is good at samurai paintings, also active in the Bijin-ga series, sumo-e, and Yokohama-e, and was an active painter at the end of the Edo period. Sumo-e has left the most works among Kuniyoshi.. Yoshitora's satire spirit also imitated Kuniyoshi.After that, in 1858, his teacher Kuniyoshi handed him an excommunication. In short, Kuniyoshi had no problem with Yoshitora, and it seems that Yoshitora's side offered to unilaterally cut off the relationship with his teacher, Kuniyoshi. is there. However, in reality, Yoshitora Tatsugoro continued to release his works without abandoning his painting business and the name "Yoshitora".At the Paris  uinversal Expo in 1867, he joined the collaboration "Ukiyo-e Book" with Sadahide Utagawa and drew Edo beauty. Since then, he has been widely used for illustrations of nishiki-e and prints. Yoshitora was most active in the fields of Yokohama-e and kaika-e, which depict novel customs before and after the Meiji Restoration, and has a large number of works .Also painted an unknown foreign landscape. His  students include Haruaki Nagashima and Toraka Utagawa.

height35,5 cm
width72 cm
eraedo period 1603-1867
signatureUtagawa Yoshitora (歌川 芳虎)
publisherEbisuya Shōshichi

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