Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
Spring 2009, vol 7 no 1



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Kassenba Oteiroku by Utagawa, Kuniyoshi

Date: c 1830
21 x 17 inches
Woodblock Print

The story of the 108 heroes of the Suikoden goes back to an old Chinese novel about 108 honorable bandits, some kind of Robin Hood gang. At the beginning of the 19th century it became very popular in Japan, and it became one of the favorite subjects of Japanese prints. The print series by Kuniyoshi was the ignition powder for the fashion of Japanese body tattoos.

Here the former innkeeper Kassenba Oteirokuin uses his hands, feet, and some ropes to restrain three opponents.

Robyn Buntin of Honolulu Gallery

Copyright 2009: Simply Haiku