The Great Battle of Kawanakajima

Touken World

The Great Battle of Kawanakajima (Kawanakajima daikassen no zu) Woodblock print, signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga, published by Eikyudo, 1858

” Takeda Shingen ” was a warring daimyo of Kai Province (now Yamanashi Prefecture ) and was feared as “the tiger of Kai”, and ” Uesugi Kenshin ” who ruled Echigo Province (now Niigata Prefecture ) and was called “Echigo Dragon”. fought five times for supremacy in Kita-Shinano (the northern part of present-day Nagano Prefecture ). These battles are collectively called the ‘Battle of Kawanakajima’ because they took place around Kawanakajima, a triangular area where the Chikuma River and the Saigawa River meet .

During such a long battle, there was also an opportunity for reconciliation. The main battle ukiyo -e depicts the situation when the Takeda army and the Uesugi army met across the Chikuma River on May 15, 1558 (Eiroku 1) to discuss reconciliation. However, here Shingen Takeda called out to Kenshin Uesugi, who was sitting on a shogi (a foldable stool), from his horse, which was considered rude, and reconciliation between the two was not established.

Ichiyu Sai Kuniyoshi, the creator of the main battle ukiyo-e, is one of the names of Utagawa Kuniyoshi , a popular ukiyo-e artist in the late Edo period .

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, who left many masterpieces on a wide variety of subjects, fully demonstrated his talent in battle ukiyo-e and warrior paintings . In the ukiyo-e of the main battle, by boldly incorporating the flow of the Chikuma River, the tension between the two men facing each other is beautifully expressed.


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