from the Righteous Samurai Collection, 1920

by Tamaya Shunki

IHL Cat. #2597


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

Ōtaka Gengo Tadao 大高源五忠雄 (1672-1703) kneels in front of the grave of Matsuo Bashō 松尾芭蕉 (1644-1694) at Gichū Temple (Yoshinakadera) in Kurizugahara, Omi.

On the twentieth day of his journey along the Tōkaidō road, as part of Lord Asano Naganori's retinue returning to Akō from Edo (see the print Barrier Mountain Path), Gengo, an accomplished hokku poet (writing under his poetry name of Shiyō), made the following entry into his travelogue, Teichū kikō 丁丑紀行:

I paid respects at the Gichū Temple in the Awazu field and faced the marker where the Old Master [Bashō] had hidden himself.

Before I thought of it, four years of dew and frost had elapsed, autumn wildflowers withering and the fiber banana to mark him

torn under the eaves. As I sprinkled water [on the marker] and joined my hands in prayer, tears welled up like an infant. 

I never received instructions from him face to face or orally. I wondered if the Reverend Soul might chastise me:

For spilling, may he forgive me: dew on bush clover

 (こぼるゝを許させ給へ萩の露  Koboruru o yurusasetamae hagi no tsuyu)[1]

"Gengo’s hokku, in which 'spill' refers both to the Buddhist rite of splashing water over a gravestone with a scoop and to the writer’s own tears, was in praise of Bashō’s hokku:

Without spilling white dew a bush clover wavers

(硯かと拾ふやくぼき石の露 Shiratsuyu o kobosanu hagi no uneri kana)" [2]

[1] Forty-Seven Samurai A Tale of Vengeance & Death in Haiku and Letters, Hiroaki Sato, Stone Bridge Press, 2019, p. 126.

[2] ibid.

Print Details

click on image to enlarge

artist signature and seal 

click on image to enlarge


"only at perilous times will one's integrity be tested and manifested" [a proverb]

Tribute Preceding Print by

Taketomi Tokitoshi 武富時敏 (1856-1938), politician and cabinet minister,

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

Tamaya Shunki 玉舎春輝 (1880-1947)*

Tamaya Shunki was born in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture. Born into a farming family, he was adopted by the Tamaya family, who had a pottery business. Moving to Kyoto, he first studied under Hara Zaisen 原在泉  (1849-1916), then under Yamamoto Shunkyo 山元春挙 (1871-1933). He first exhibited at the government sponsored Bunten in 1909, being awarded a prize at the 1913 Bunten.  A member of the Kyoto Bijutsu Kyōkai, an organization which had a major influence in the art world in the Kyoto area, he was also a founding member of the Nihon Jiyū Gadan (Japan Independent Painting Group), founded in 1919 in opposition to the government sponsored Teiten.  He visited China in 1921 and 1924 and exhibited at various venues in Japan into the 1940s including at the 1940 2600th Anniversary Celebratory Art Exhibition 紀元2600年奉祝美術展.

*1946 and 1948 are also shown as dates of the artist's death by various sources.

Sources: A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976 , p. 172; https://yuagariart.com/uag/gifu18/