Yoshitoshi's 'Biographies of Valiant Drunken Tigers' (1874)


This page attempts to catalog all known prints in Yoshitoshi's series 'Keisei suikoden (竸勢 醉虎傳 - Biographies of Valiant Drunken Tigers)'. (The title is now usually written with the simplified characters 競, 酔 and 伝; 競勢 酔虎伝.)

The title has one of the written/spoken puns common in Japanese woodblock prints: although the second word is pronounced "suikoden" (the same as the well-known 'Water Margin' tale), it is written with different kan-ji, hence has a very different meaning.

It dates from the middle of Yoshitoshi's career, when he was about thirty-five. It thus dates from a little over a decade before his well-known masterpieces such as his great series "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon" (1885-1892), and "New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts" (often called simply "Thirty-Six Ghosts") (1889-1892).

Technical details

Previous cataloguings

One of the first attempts to enumerate this series was in Keyes' thesis:
	Roger. S. Keyes, "Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and
		Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 1839-1892",
		Cinncinnati, 1982
where it appears as series #289; he listed 18 prints in the series. The next listing was in:
	Eric van den Ing, Robert Schaap, "Beauty and Violence: Japanese
		Prints by Yoshitoshi 1839-1892",
		Havilland, Eindhoven, 1992
where it appears as series #24 (pg. 50, 112); they listed a further 3 prints (using Keyes' reference numbers for the first 18), making 21 in total. We have found an additional two prints, making 23 in total so far.

We use the Keyes/B+V numbers for the first 21, and have numbered the rest in the order in which we discovered them. The prints in the series do not appear to have any numbers on them.

This page (and list) is by no means complete; there is possibly one print listed below for which we do not yet have an image. The series is not well documented, and there may be yet other prints which have not yet come to our attention. If you know of any prints from this series which aren't listed here, or have either i) information about any errors on the page, ii) better images than the ones below, iii) missing information about individual prints (e.g. publisher, exact date), or iv) images for any of the prints which we are missing images for, please let us know.

The Prints

To see a larger, roughly full-screen, image of any print, please click on the thumbnail; these images are sized to produce reasonable detail (if we have an original that big), and are fairly compressed.

If we have a higher-quality image, that image can be viewed by clicking on the "Large Image" link, which gives the size of the image (for the benefit of those on slow links).

Thumbnail Large image Number Title (Kanji) Title (Rōmaji) Description/Comments
#1 大矢内 竜吾 Oyauchi Ryūgo(rō)
450KB #2 尼子 八郎 Amako Hachirō
504KB #3A 柏瀬 茂石衛門 Kashiwase Moemon This print exists in two different variants, one with the name of Kashiwase Moemon (which we have numbered, semi-arbitrarily, as #3A), and the other with the name of Nokiyama Zendayū (numbered #3B); Nokiyama Zendayū also appears in print #7 in this series.
575KB #3B 軒山 善太夫 Nokiyama Zendayū
#4 歩兵 藤作 Hohei Tōsaku
#5 大塩 平八郎 Oshio Heihachirō
561KB #6 午之助 Umanosuke The story as given on the print is that the ronin Umanosuke was drinking in a sake shop when he overhead two samurai making disloyal remarks; at this, he became enraged, and cut them both down with a single stroke (a tray of food also became involved).
#7 軒山 善太夫 Nokiyama Zendayū
269KB #8 大矢野 作左衛門 Oyano Sakuzaemon
292KB #9 渡部 氏 妻女 Watanabe uji [no] Saijo Watanabe's wife with a child on her back and two severed heads at her feet.
#10 飯岡 助五郎 Iikō Sukegorō
585KB #11 窪田 萬冶 Kubota Manji The archaic character in this name is now usually replaced with the character .
604KB #12 大河 兵次郎 Okawa Hyōjirō
411KB #13 栖本 左京 Sumoto Sakyō
#14 駒木根 八兵衛 Komagine Hachibei
#15 鵬 貞之亮 Otori Teinosuke
Image needed #16 Kubota Manji Possibly a duplicate entry for #11?
#17 笹井 織江 Sasai Orie
681KB #18 伊場 七郎 Iba Shichirō
#19 光明 阿闍梨 Kōmyō Ajari
1165KB #20 時枝 隼人 Tokieda Hayato
439KB #21 田澤 藏人 Tazawa Kurando
585KB #22 伊坂 賢八郎 Isaka Kenhachirō
604KB #23 天草 四郎 Amakusa Shirō


Thanks to Guy Pepermans, who provided an image of print #19.

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Last updated: 25/June/2014