We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Menju Sôsuke leteru, from the series Biographies of heroes of the Taiheiki

circa 1850


Utagawa Kuniyoshi


1797 – 1861

  • Details

    Other Title
    Menju Sôsuke leteru (No. 16 in the series "Biographies of heroes of the Taiheiki ro heroes of the sixteenth century wars")
    Alternative title
    Taiheiki eiyû den: Menju Sôsuke leteru
    Place where the work was made
    Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    circa 1850
    Media category
    Materials used
    woodblock print; ink and colour on paper
    34.0 x 23.0 cm sight
    Signature & date

    Signed c.r., in Japanese, ink, incised on block "Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga [picture by Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi]". Signed c.r., in Japanese, ink "[artist's seal]". Not dated.

    Gift of Margaret Olley 2002
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Utagawa Kuniyoshi

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Utagawa Kuniyoshi was one of the most talented and prolific disciples alongside Kunisada, of Toyokuni (1769-1825), the most revered master of the Utagawa School. While Kunisada's forte was the depiction of women and kabuki actors, Kuniyoshi excelled in both landscape and figures. He was particularly known for his many series of warrior prints based on legends and popular literature.

    This 'Taiheiki' series was produced around 1850 at the time of Kuniyoshi's artistic maturity. Another famous series by him titled 'Seichû gishi den' (The tale of loyal retainers) was also published around this time. This series features 50 heroes from the 16th century wars, but the title 'Taiheiki' (Record of Great Peace) refers to a historical account of a civil war period in the 14th century. This is because the authorities prohibited publication of any historical subject since the time of Oda Nobunaga (1534-82) and the publisher 'got around' the censorship by setting the context in the earlier period as well as slightly changing the protagonists' names.

    The warriors in the series were considered heroes for their bravery in battle and loyalty to their lords. These stories were known to the public through popular literature and at theatre performances.

    Asian Art Dept., AGNSW, 29 May 2002.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Outlaw, Art Gallery of New South Wales, North Building, Sydney, 03 Dec 2022–06 Jun 2023

Other works by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

See all 26 works