Kuniyoshi

Hayano Kampei Tsuneyo (1847-48)

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About The Art

In the 47th print of the series, Kampei is portrayed as a ghost-like figure with pale skin tones and muted clothing. He missed the Kono battle because he committed suicide before it took place, torn by an unresolvable conflict between his desire to fight with his ronin comrades on the one hand and his need to obey his aged father’s command to remain at home and care for him on the other. Suicide was the only honorable way out. In the battle the ronin leader Oboshi ordered Kampei’s brother to carry a spear with his brother’s name, “Hayano Kampei, killed in battle.”

The story that we now know as "the 47 Ronin" recounts the Ako Incident, a series of events taking place between 1701 and 1704. A tale of vengeance that embodied the principles of Bushido to their fullest effect, it soon became a Japanese cultural symbol, exemplifying core Bushido values of loyalty, honor and heroic courage. It would go on to inspire countless plays, poems, and artworks.