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The Sixteen Divine Generals of the Tokugawa (Ieyasu)

White Plum from the book Nihon no Hana

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The Sixteen Divine Generals of the Tokugawa (Ieyasu)

by Unsen, 1874

White Plum from the book Nihon no Hana

IHL Cat. #1388

About This Print

The artist portrays the Sixteen Divine Generals serving Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration of 1867.  It is interesting to ponder why this subject was depicted in 1874, seven years after the emperor was restored to power.  1873 and the beginning of 1874 were rough times for the new Meiji emperor and government, with open revolts by both the masses (over misinterpreted conscription laws and demands for tax reduction) and disaffected samurai, a handful of whom tried to assassinate the Minister of the Right, Iwakura Tomomi (1825-1883),1 on January 13, 1874.  Perhaps this reminder of the loyalty of these generals to the first shogun was to be instructive of loyalty to the young emperor?

1 Soon after his appointment as Minister of the Right in 1871, he led the two-year around-the-world journey known as the Iwakura mission, visiting the United States and several countries in Europe with the purpose of renegotiating the unequal treaties and gathering information to help effect the modernization of Japan.

The Sixteen Divine (Heavenly) Generals of the Tokugawa
The Sixteen Heavenly Generals of Tokugawa (徳川十六神将) is a title that was invented during the Edo period. Like the Four Heavenly Kings, this title was made based on the Buddhist Twelve Heavenly Generals. 

Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the first shogun

Tokugawa Ieyasu sits in the center of the print.  Arrayed around him are the sixteen "divine generals" who served him, as listed below.

Right Sheet: From top center moving clockwise:

Ōkubo Tadayo 大久保忠世 (1532-1594) 

cartouche reading: 
大久保郎右エ門忠世 [Ōkubo shichirō uemon Tadayo]

Takagi Kiyohide 高木清秀 (1525-1610)

cartouche reading:  


Ōkubo Tadasuke 大久保忠佐 (1537-1613)

cartouche reading: 


Hattori Masanari 服部正成 (1542-1596)

cartouche reading: 
[Hattori Hanzō Masanari/Masashige]


Naitō Masanari 内藤正成 (1528-1602)

cartouche reading: 
[Naitō Shirōuemon Masanari/Masashige]

Center Sheet: Clockwise from upper right:


Matsudaira Yasutada 松平康忠 (1545-1618)  

cartouche reading: 松平康忠
[Matsudaira Jintarō Yasutada]


Sakakibara Yasumasa 榊原 康政 (1548-1606)

cartouche reading: 
[Sakakibara Shikibu no Taiyu Yasumasa] 


Honda Tadakatsu 本多平八郎 (1548-1610)

cartouche reading: 本多中務少輔忠勝
[Honda Nakatsuka Shōsuke Tadakatsu]


Watanabe Moritsuna 渡辺守綱 (1543-1620) 

cartouche reading:
[Watanabe Moritsuna]


Ii Naomasa 井伊直政 (1561-1602)

cartouche reading: 
[Ji-hiōbu no Shōyū Naomasa] 


Sakai Tadatsugu 酒井忠次 (1527-1596)

cartouche reading: 
[Sakai Sayemon Tadatsugu] 

Left Sheet: From top left moving clockwise: 

Torii Mototada 鳥居元忠 (1539-1600)

cartouche reading: 
[Torii Hikozayemon Mototada]

Hachiya Sadatsugu 蜂屋貞次 (1532-1564)

cartouche reading: 
[Hachiya Hannoj
ō Sadatsugu]



Yonekitsu Tsuneharu
 米津常春 (1524-1612)

cartouche reading: 米津


Torii Tadahiro 鳥居忠広 (?-1573)

cartouche reading: 鳥居四郎左エ門直忠
[Torii Shir
ō Saemon Naotada]

Hiraiwa Chikayoshi 平岩親吉 (1542-1611) 

cartouche reading 
[Hiraiwa ? Chikayoshi

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1388
 Title The Complete Sixteen Divine Generals of the Tokugawa (Ieyasu)
 徳川英勇揃 十六將之圖
 Unsen (active. c. 1874)
應需雲僊筆 ōju Unsen hitsu 
 Seal ??雲僊 [see image above]
1874, 2nd month
Iseya Rihei  
伊勢屋利兵衛 [Marks: seal 01-122 ; pub. ref. 152
seal reading 
林 Hayashi
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - three separate untrimmed sheets; minor toning; ragged bottom margin; handling folds
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban vertical triptych
 H x W Paper Right Sheet: 13 3/4 x 9 11/16 in. (34.9 x 24.6 cm)
 Center Sheet: 13 7/8 x 9 13/16 in. (35.2 x 24.9 cm)
 Left Sheet: 13 7/8 x 9 5/8 in. (35.2 x 24.4 cm)
 H X W Image
 Right Sheet: 13 11/16 x 9 1/2 in. (34.8 x 24.1 cm)
 Center Sheet: 13 11/16 x 9 1/4 in. (34.8 x 23.5 cm)
 Left Sheet: 13 1/2 x 9 7/16 in. (34.3 x 24 cm)
 Collections This Print National Diet Library Digital Collections Call Number 234-88 (right two sheets of triptych appearing in bound volume)
 Reference Literature 
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