Tag Archives: Horoscope

Samurai Bunny Rabbit scream

Master of the incongruous, artist Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), must have laughed at his own creation. The threatening, screaming samurai with a cute bunny rabbit helmet. The first time I saw this print as a small black and white illustration in B.W. Robinson’s excellent book, Kuniyoshi: The Warrior Prints (1982 Cornell University Press), I laughed out loud. It makes me wish I lived 200 years ago so that I could have known such a hilarious person.

Information follows from Fujiarts.com website:

Original Kuniyoshi (1797 – 1861) Japanese Woodblock Print
Hare: Shinozuka Iga no Kami

Series; Japanese Heroes for the Twelve Signs, 1854

Hare: Shinozuka Iga no Kami – Terrific portrait of the legendary samurai Shinozuka Iga no Kami, a retainer of the Nitta Clan renowned for his great strength. He is shown standing on the shore during a battle, the sea raging behind him as he grips a spear with both hands. His mouth is open in a ferocious yell, the flowing white mane of his battle helmet adding to his fierce appearance. The rocky ground below is littered with broken arrows and a fallen standard. Beautifully detailed with subtle burnishing on the black armor and delicate embossing on the flowing white wig of the helmet which is topped with Shinozuka’s emblem of a golden hare. A bold Kuniyoshi warrior design.

Artist – Kuniyoshi (1797 – 1861)

Image Size – 14 1/8″ x 9 5/8″


Horoscope signs

Selection (or parody) for the Twelve Signs (Mitate jûnishi no uchi, 見立十二支の内) is artist Kuniyoshi’s series by publisher Kakumoto-ya Kinjiro from 1852. Information on this print is from the highly recommended KuniyoshiProject.com. I added this to my collection a while ago because of its beautiful condition and subject matter. Kabuki theater, actor Ichikawa Danjuro VIII, the male actor Bando Shuka I in a female role (onnagata), and horoscope signs make for an intriguing mix. Without seeing the play, it’s hard to figure out what this has to do with the qualities of the Year of the Hare. But the adorable rabbits drawn around the cartouche containing the series name are irresistible.

Sign: Hare (卯)

Foreground bust: Bandô Shuka I as Kosan the bathhouse girl (小さん) holding a letter. Due to govermental regulations, no women were permitted on stage.

Smaller figure: Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII as Omatsuri Kingorô (金五郎).Ichikawa Danjuro VIII was the Elvis of his day in Japan, handsome and wildly popular until his shocking suicide in 1854.

PlayChikai Musubi ukina no Tategaku (盟結艶立額)