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Murata Shinpachi from the series Kagoshima Competition for Glory


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Murata Shinpachi

from the series Kagoshima Competition for Glory

by Utagawa Kunimasa IV, 1877

Rokkasen Kyōga no Suminuri

IHL Cat. #2273

About This Print

Murata Shinpachi (1836-1877)
Portraying Saigō's close friend Murata Shinpachi who committed suicide after witnessing Saigō's death in the aftermath of the Battle of Shiroyama on September 24, 1877. Murata had served in the Imperial Household and been part of the 1871-1873 Iwakura Mission to Europe and the United States. He resigned from the government along with Saigō after his return and went on to head the shigakkō artillery school, part of a system of private schools in Kagoshima supported by Saigō and set up "as a way to inculcate samurai values [in] the last generation of birthright samurai."1 Murata was to command Saigō's 3rd division. He is buried along with Saigō at the Nanshū Cemetery in Kagoshima. 

It is one of six prints in the series titled 
Kagoshima eimei kurabe, loosely translated as "Kagoshima Competition for Glory".  Each of the six prints portrays an important rebel figure in the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion, as shown below. See the article Prints of the Satsuma Rebellion on this site for more information on the Rebellion and the prints it spawned.
1 "Saigō Takamori in the Emergence of Meiji Japan", Charles L. Yates appearing in Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), Cambridge University Press, p. 467.

All Six Prints

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Murata Shinpachi 村田新八
 Series Kagoshima Competition for Glory
 鹿児島英名竸 [鹿児島英名競] Kagoshima eimei kurabe
 Artist Utagawa Kunimasa IV (1848-1920)
 Signature Takenōchi Hidehisa 竹内栄久 [the birth name of  Utagawa Kunimasa IV, as shown in the  publisher's cartouche below]
 Seal no seal
 Publication Date 1877 (likely September 1, 1877, based upon date seal present on some prints in the series)
Hasegawa Sakujirō 
長谷川作治郎 [Marks: publisher not shown]

left: 版元 [publisher] 
通新石町十二番地 [address] 
福田熊治郎 [Hasegawa Sakujirō]

right: 画工 [artist]
通新石町二十四番地 [address] 
竹内栄久 [Takenōchi Hidehisa, artist's birth name] 
 Impression excellent
 Colors fair - fading and toning
 Condition poor – extensive wrinkling, period backing sheet; paper loss along left margin; bottom right and within image
 Genre ukiyo-erekishi-e
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 13 3/4 x 9 1/4 in. (34.9 x 23.5 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Tokyo Metropolitan Library 1594-C8-3
last revision:
4/4/2020 created