Village Scenery - Scene 4

from the Righteous Samurai Collection, 1920

by Kaburaki Kiyokata

IHL Cat. #2307


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

It is the spring of 1702 and Ōishi Yoshio has moved to Yamashina, a rural area southeast of Kyoto, and is spending time in Kyoto's pleasure quarters in Gion and Shimabara and in Shumoku-chō in Fushimi. Here he plays one of his own compositions, perhaps Satogeshiki, on the shamisen at the Sasaya brothel where he has been spending time with the courtesan Ukihashi.[1]

Previously, he has divorced his wife Riju and sent his younger children to safety, hoping to spare them punishment for his planned actions.

Lore has it that Ōishi's pleasure pursuits were a ruse to make the bakufu and Kira's clan believe that he was not capable of carrying out the vendetta. Tucker points out that "Ōishi, a Genroku samurai who enjoyed life" would have normally been drawn to Kyoto's entertainment districts and that the extent of his debauchery as part of his plan to keep Kira off-guard was likely exaggerated in building the legend of the Righteous Samurai.[2]  


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

[2] The Forty-Seven Rōnin: The Vendetta in History, John A. Tucker, Cambridge University Press, 2018, p. 73.

Print Details

artist signature and seal

click on image to enlarge

Tribute Preceding Print by Kiyoura Keigo

淸浦奎吾 (1850-1942), politician who became Prime Minister in 1924,

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

里げしき 其四 

Print Commentary from Volume 2 of Gishi Taikan

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

Artist Profile

Kaburaki Kiyokata 鏑木清方 (1878-1972)

Kaburaki Kiyokata, a successful illustrator for newspapers and novels, turned to nihonga (Japanese-style) painting in his early twenties becoming one of its 20th-century luminaries. Throughout his long career he taught some of the most successful shin hanga (new prints) artists, such as Kawase Hasui 川瀬巴水 (1883-1957) and Itō Shinsui 伊東深水 (1898-1972), led a movement to revive the bijinga (pictures of beautiful women) tradition, was made a member of the Imperial Fine Art Academy and received the Order of Cultural Merit. In 1998 the Kaburaki Kiyokata Memorial Art Museum was opened in Kamakura where the artist settled after WWII.

During his long life, Kaburaki Kiyokata was highly renowned as an illustrator, painter, and essayist, a spread of talents so rare as to find no equivalent in the history of modern Japanese art.2

For more information on this artist visit Kaburaki Kiyokata 鏑木清方 (1878-1972)