Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ukiyo-e Shakuhachi

An okodate or chivalrous commoner brandishes his shakuhachi flute at the beginning of a brawl. He wears one sword, as distinguished from a samurai's two. Young men like this tried to protect commoners from the abuses of arrogant samurai and often became folk heroes. 


Kinoshita Hironobu c.1855

Upper right cartouche framed by a pair of sandals, a shakuhachi flute, a towel, a pipe case and tobacco case, and a sword.

Chivalrous Commoners

Five Chivalrous Commoners and Sake Casks

Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

Okabe in Suruga The Monster of the Cat Temple

Otokodate in a Puppy Kimono

Rogue with Dragon Kimono

Samurai Visiting a Courtesan

Self-defense with shakuhachi

Toyokuni Kunisada Shakuhachi Flute Defense

After many indecisive skirmishes with the enemy, one night Zi Fang climbed to a mountain overlooking the enemy camp. He played melodies on the flute from the enemy's home province of Chu. He played so sweetly that the warriors were drawn to tears. Tired of fighting, 6000 of the 8000 man force gave up and left for home. The general of the opposing forces realized the futility of fighting on and surrendered.