Good News from Shihō-an 

from the Righteous Samurai Collection, 1920

by Uenaka Chokusai

IHL Cat. #2303


The eighteenth print appearing in Volume 3 of Gishi taikan, edited by Fukumoto Nichinan. 

Ōtaka Gengo Tadao 大高源五忠雄 (1672-1703), one of the Righteous Samurai, looks at a map of Kira's mansion and a note telling him that Kira Yoshinaka will hold a tea ceremony at his mansion on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month. Ōtaka, under the alias Wakiya Shinbei to keep his real identity secret, has become a pupil of the tea master Yamada Sōhen 山田宗偏 (1627-1708), whose tea ceremony name was Shihō-an, and who was an intimate of Kira's. Yamada innocently lets him know that the tea ceremony will be held on December 14. On that night the Righteous Samurai will attack taking their revenge on Kira Yoshinaka.

It is said that Yamada actually knew the true identity of Shinbei and deliberately told him the date in support of the Righteous Samurais' revenge.

This incident was recorded in 1848 by Mizutani Ryokutei  水谷緑亭 (1787-1858) in "Sincere Loyal Vassals: Thumbnail Lives" (Seichugishin ryakuden), as follows:

Gengo was mild in temperament and exquisite in his handwriting. In haikai, he joined Mizuma Sentoku's group, calling himself Shiyō. 

Also good at the art of drinking tea, he associated with the tea master Sōhen and attended his tea meetings in various places. In doing so, 

he found details of Yoshinaka's mansion, learned that Yoshinaka was certain to be home for the farewell-to-the-year tea on the fourteenth,

and helped arrange the break-in by his group.[1]

[1] Forty-Seven Samurai: A Tale of Vengeance & Death in Haiku and Letters, Hiroaki Sato, Stone Bridge Press, 2019, p. 143.

Print Details

artist signature and seal

click on image to enlarge

Tribute Preceding Print by

Horio Kanmu

堀尾貫務 (1828-1891), Jōdo Buddhist head priest

from Volume 3 of Gishi Taikan

image source: The Early Japanese Book Portal Database, Art Research Center AkoRH-R0419-3

click on image to enlarge

Print Commentary from Volume 3 of Gishi Taikan


image source: The Early Japanese Book Portal

Database, Art Research Center AkoRH-R0419-3

Artist Profile

Uenaka Chokusai 植中直斎 (1885-1977)

Born in Nara, Chokusai's birth name was Naojiro. He studied under Fukada Chokujō 深田直城 (1861-1947), Hashimoto Gahō 橋本雅邦 (1835-1908) and Yamamoto Shunkyo 山元春挙 (1871-1933). He studied Nichiren Buddhism with Tanaka Chigaku 田中智學 (1861-1939) and his Buddhist works were shown at the government sponsored Bunten and Teiten exhibitions. In addition to Buddhist inspired works he was known for his paintings of historical scenery. Along with Hayashi Bunto 林文塘 (1886-1966) , Ikeda Keisen 池田桂仙 (1863-1931) and Ueda Manshu 上田万秋 (1869-1952) he would help establish the Nihon Jiyu Gadan (Japan Independent Painting Group or Japan Free Painting Group), which held non-juried exhibitions.