Rai San’yō from the series

Thirty Great Loyalists of Early Modern Times, 1942

by Ōta Chōu

IHL Cat. #1969


Ōta portrays the Confucian scholar, historian and calligrapher Rai San'yō (1781-1832) with his widowed mother Baishi viewing the cherry blossoms at Mount Yoshino in Yamato in 1827. This fulfilled her desire to once more see the cherry blossoms before her death. While there, he pointed out to his mother Emperor Go-Daigo's (1288-1339) tomb, lamenting Go Daigo's failed attempt in 1331 to overthrow the Kamakura Shogunate (1185-1333) and restore Imperial rule. 

Thirty Great Loyalists of Early Modern Times

The eleven extant prints comprising the seemingly incomplete series Thirty Great Loyalists of Early Modern Times depict figures active in the mid/late Edo era and early Meiji era who displayed great loyalty to the Emperor and, thereby, the nation. Issued in 1942 when the war in the Pacific was raging, the patriotic theme of these prints was clear. Nine of the eleven extant prints portray a famous incident or anecdote in a Great Loyalist's life and two prints deal specifically with the 1860 assassination of the shōgunate's Chief Minister Ii Naosuke (1815-1860). Each print was issued in a folder which also contained a written commentary. 

Print Details

Thirty Great Loyalists #1969

artist's signature and seal

signature: 聴雨 (Chōu)

seal: unread

seal of the Society for the Promotion of Loyalist Culture


seal of the publisher Watanabe Shōzaurō

銀座渡辺木版画舗工作 Watanabe "G-type" seal

(a work of Watanabe woodblock print shop, Ginza) 

Artist Profile

Ōta Chōu 太田聴雨 (1896-1958) - a Japanese-style painter, he became a pupil of Kawabata Gyokushō (1842-1913), a Japanese-style Shijō painter, at the age of 13 and in 1927 he began studying with Maeda Seison (1885-1977), a leading proponent of nihonga... 

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Examples of the Artist's Work