|KEY WORD : art history / paintings|
| Lit. biographies of eight dogs. A pictorial subject
in *ukiyo-e 浮世絵 taken from
the NANSOU SATOMI HAKKENDEN 南総里見八犬伝, Takizawa Bakin's 滝沢馬琴 (1767-1849)
woodblock-printed novels *yomihon
読本, published in 106 volumes between 1814-41. Samurai ideals of duty, family loyalty,
righteousness, physical prowess and courage are central themes in an involved plot
based on the structure of the Chinese novel Shuihuzhuan (Jp: SUIKODEN 水滸伝).
General Satomi Yoshizane 里見義実 offers his daughter Fusehime 伏姫 to whomever kills
his chief enemy. When his dog Yatsufusa 八房, kills the man, and returns with the
head, Fusehime accepts the dog as her husband despite her father's objections.
Eventually a child is born. A retainer of Yoshizane attempts to kill Yatsufusa,
but his bullet strikes Fusehime who then stabs herself to death. Eight beads,
each with a Chinese character standing for a Confucian virtue, rise into the sky.
Later one each of the eight beads is found in the hands of infant sons born to
men whose surnames begin with the character for dog inu 犬. The eight
young warriors or dogs (of the title) engage in various heroic exploits, alone
or together, and eventually restore the Satomi family to power. The numerous volumes
brought out by several succeeding publishers include illustrations by five ukiyo-e
artists including Keisai Eisen 渓斎英泉 (1790-1848). From the early 1830's, single-sheet
prints often in a series of Hakkenden were produced by such artists as Utagawa
Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1797-1861) and Kunisada 国貞 (1786-1865). Most notably, a dramatic
episode where Inuzuka Shino 犬塚信乃 and Inukai Genpachi 犬飼現八 fight on the roof of
the Houryuukaku 芳流閣 was often illustrated.
(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.