Overlooking the Old Capital

from the Righteous Samurai Collection, 1921

by Mizuta Chikuho

IHL Cat. #2602


The eighth print appearing in Volume 2 of Gishi taikan, edited by Fukumoto Nichinan. 

Sixty year old Onodera Junai Hidetomo 小野寺十内秀和 (1643-1703), a retainer of Asano Naganori well-versed in the martial arts and a literary man known for his poetry, is shown walking along the Tokaidō to Edo in October 1702 where he will join Ōishi Yoshio for the attack on Kira's mansion. Previously he had left his home near Mount Hiei to rush to Akō Castle when it was still thought that it might remain in the hands of the Asano family and later he will join Ōishi in Kyoto as his chief of staff. In his commentary on the print, Fukumoto relates, "As he was travelling eastwards, the skies of the capital were now distant and he felt the loneliness of the journey. The mountains of O'Hiei, his hometown, are distant and shrouded in clouds." In a letter to his wife Onodera has written "Even if my dead body is shown, I think my duty will be fulfilled because my dead body will demonstrate Samurai loyalty to the entire country and it will strengthen their resolve."  After her husband's ordered seppuku she will commit jigai, ritual suicide, as is prescribed for the wives of samurai.

Print Details

artist signature and seals

click on image to enlarge

Tribute Preceding Print by

Kōno Hironaka 河野廣中 (1849-1923), politician and bureaucrat,

from Volume 2 of Gishi Taikan

image source: The Early Japanese Book Portal Database, Art Research Center AkoRH-R0419-2

click on image to enlarge

Print Commentary from Volume 2 of Gishi Taikan


圖は、小野寺十内の東下 に際しやう〱都の空も遠ざかり旅情一入の寂寞を感じてや 恰も瀨田の橋を打渡り大比叡の背影をも見へずなり鈴鹿山に雲の立ち龍むるころ



image source: The Early Japanese Book Portal Database, Art Research Center AkoRH-R0419-2

Artist Profile

Mizuta Chikuho 水田竹圃 (1883-1958)

Mizuta Chikuho (born Mizuta Chūji) was born in Osaka in 1883. He started his training as a painter in 1897 under Himejima Chikugai 姫島竹外 (1846-1928). He was an important figure in Kansai painting circles and co-founded the Nihon Nangain (Japan Nanga Institute). He was a frequent exhibitor and prize-winner at the government sponsored Bunten, and later he became a judge for the Teiten, the successor exhibition to the Bunten. He died in 1958.

source:  A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976,  p.110.