Kintarō Subduing a Raptor with a Large Axe, 1820s

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Kintarō is a hero from Japanese folklore; a child of superhuman strength that was raised by a mountain hag on Mount Ashigara. He became friendly with the animals of the mountain, and eventually became a loyal follower of Minamoto Yorimitsu (948-1021). On Boy's Day a Kintarō doll is being put up so that boys will become equally brave and strong.

Two original versions exist, each with a poem by a different poet. The first version, illustrated in the surimono catalogue by Richard Kruml from 1989, bears a poem by Takasagotei Matsunari 高砂亭松成. The second version, which is this impression and the one in the New York Public Library, has a poem by Kaseitei Shironari 花盛亭白成. The second version was reprinted in the Meiji period. The reprint lacks the drum emblem of the Taiko-gawa poetry group in the upper left corner. It is illustrated in Carpenter (ed.), Reading Surimono, no. 290, who provides the following translation of the poem:
The hands of wind / firmly grasp the scent / of the plum at the peak of bloom, / seizing hold of spring, precious / as a thousand gold pieces. (Saki-michishi / ume no nioi o / kaze no te ni / tsukami-dori suru / senkin no haru).

Kintarō Subduing a Raptor with a Large Axe
Artist Life
fl. c.1800s-1820s
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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