Our poster is a loving reproduction of an Ukiyo-e heroes classic. A favourite subject, Samurai and other types of warriors were often portrayed in the 19th century as a memory of a legendary past.
Benkei was a warrior monk of these near-mythological stories of old Japan. He was undefeated until he met the hero Yoshitsune. He was so impressed by this young man’s kenjutsu (sword skills) that he became his lieutenant to stay by his side for life. He is shown seated with a naginata (halberd) in full samurai armour (yoroi) with a tachi (sword) at his waist.
The figure behind him is named as Genkurou Yoshitsune which may refer to the famous Yoshitsune’s Minamoto clan heritage or it may refer to the kitsune, or fox spirit, which was legendarily named Genkurou and fully armed as a reward for his services to the famous general as portrayed in the Kabuki play “Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees”. He carries a long and short sword in his belt and a quiver of arrows at his back.
Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni
Date: 1804 – 1818
Original Type: Ukiyo-e woodcut
Poster: A4 to A1 sizing, gloss or matte finish