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Illustration of the Rebels Being Suppressed at Kagoshima


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Illustration of the Rebels Being Suppressed

at Kagoshima

by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1877

IHL Cat. #450

About This Print

Saigō Takamori 西郷隆盛 is front and center upon horseback, sword in hand, as bullets fly around him.  When this print was issued in October 1877, the Satsuma Rebellion was over, the rebels were defeated and Saigō was dead.  As in the print Kagoshima senkin the rebels imagined slogan "A New Government, Rich in Virtue" is again on display.  Twelve red name cartouches are displayed including those of Saigō and ten of his comrades including Beppu Shinsuke 別府新介, Murata Shinpachi 村田新八, Nagayama Yachirō 永山矢一郎 (commander of the 2nd battalion), Kirino Toshiaki 桐野利秋, Kawano Shiro 河野四郎 and Higo Sukezaemon.

A Fabricated Slogan - "A New Government, Rich in Virtue"

Mark Ravina in his book The Last Samurai explains that Saigo's followers "lacked any common ideology."  He goes on to explain:

Within weeks...the popular press had created a slogan for Saigo: Shinsei kotoku (A New Government, Rich in Virtue).  The origins of the slogan are unclear, but on March 3 the Yubin hochi shinbun newspaper reported that Saigo was using the slogan on his battle flags.  There were no such flags: Saigo's pennants were simple variations on the Shimazu family crest.  The slogan was entirely a creation of woodblock print (nishikie) artists, which the newspaper mistakenly construed as fact.  The slogan, which appeared in scores of different prints, became a cautious way for artist to show support for Saigo without violating Meiji press law.  Artists dutifully described Saigo as a treacherous rebel in prose but then drew him in heroic poses with his valiant slogan.1

1The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori, Mark Ravina, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004, p. 206.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Illustration of the Rebels Being Suppressed at Kagoshima
 Kagoshima zokuto heij
ō no zu 鹿児嶋賊徒平定圖 [鹿児島賊徒平定図]
 Artist Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912)
Yōshūsai Chikanobu 

 Seal Yōshū 楊洲 (see above)
 Publication Date
October 1877 
福田熊次郎 Fukuda Kumajirō [Marks: pub. ref. 071; seal not shown]

画工 橋本直義 artist Hashimoto Naoyoshi (artists real name)
出版人 福田熊次郎 publisher Fukuda Kumajirō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair – three panels joined; remnants of prior mounting along top margin; light soiling throughout; minor damage along bottom margin; worm-hole tracks center and left panels; full-size untrimmed sheets.
 Genre ukiyo-e; senso-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 14 3/8 x 28 7/8 in. (36.5 x 73.3 cm)
 Collections This Print
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