Skip to content

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi – Yoshitsune Learning Martial Arts from the Tengu King


In stock

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist
SKU: MLS2023303 Category: Tags: ,

The Tengu King, Sojobo, sits on his high throne, watching as Minamoto no Yoshitsune (Ushiwaka Maru) trains in sword fighting in his forest hideaway on Mount Kurama. Yoshitsune, who was known as Ushiwaka-Maru as a boy, was the youngest son of Minamoto Yoshitomo, killed on the order of the leader of the Taira-clan. Ushiwaka was arrested together with his mother and two brothers, and given over to a monastery. When he became aware of his family history he vowed revenge on the Taira. During his outings in the forest, he met with an old man, red faced and with an unusually long nose. This was the powerful Sojobo, King of the Tengu. Tengu are legendary demons of the forest, skilled at fighting and with long bird like faces. Sojobu, recognizing the skill of the boy, taught him how to fight like a Tengu.

The video below is from a modern take on the classic story of the 47 Ronin, but showcases a great scene with Keanu Reeves and Tengu.


The Woodblock Prints

This incredible oban triptych from 1880 is in very fine to excellent condition for its age.  We believe this print to be a first edition of the triptych, comparing it to the only other known copies it has a multi-colored cartouche in the upper right (others do not), which is typical for Kuniyoshi and Yoshitoshi as a way of denoting the first printings. This set also has a different color scheme and you can compare against this other image. We are unable to find any other copies of this set with this color scheme and cartouche.

This set is completely untrimmed with full margins and unattached as shown. Unbacked, a few very small holes have been professionally reinforced. A centerline crease runs through the set, but only noticed from the verso.

In all an incredible scene and a rare set from Yoshitoshi in lovely condition.

About the Artist

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (芳年, April 30, 1839 – June 9, 1892) was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist who is widely regarded as one of the last great masters of the traditional woodblock print. He is known for his dynamic and vivid depictions of historical and supernatural subjects, often featuring intense and dramatic compositions.

Yoshitoshi was born in Edo (modern-day Tokyo), Japan, in 1839. He was the son of a samurai, and he began his artistic training as a student of the ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi at a young age. He also studied under other prominent ukiyo-e artists, including Utagawa Kunisada and Toyokuni III. Yoshitoshi’s early works were characterized by a lively and expressive style, featuring scenes from Japanese folklore, theater, and history.

In the 1860s, Yoshitoshi entered a period of artistic maturity, during which he created some of his most iconic works. His prints during this period often featured vivid and dramatic images of ghosts, demons, and historical figures. Yoshitoshi was also known for his innovative use of color, which he used to heighten the emotional impact of his works. His mature works were highly regarded for their technical mastery and artistic vision.

Despite his artistic success, Yoshitoshi faced personal struggles throughout his life. He suffered from depression and anxiety, which were exacerbated by the death of his wife and the decline of the ukiyo-e industry. His mental health struggles are reflected in some of his works, which feature dark and disturbing subject matter. However, his artistic output remained prolific throughout his life.

As modernization pushed ahead following the opening of Japan to the West, Yoshitoshi suffered a nervous breakdown in 1872, living in poverty and ceasing all artistic production. In the 1880s, Yoshitoshi suffered a breakdown and spent some time in a mental institution. He returned to work after his release, adopting the artist name Taiso. In 1885, he began one of his most acclaimed series, “100 Views of the Moon”. In the spring of 1892, he suffered his final mental breakdown and was committed to the Sugamo Asylum; he died shortly of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 53.


  • “Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Freis Collection” by Chris Uhlenbeck and Amy Reigle Newland
  • “Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of the Moon” by John Stevenson
  • “Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: A Selection of One Hundred Prints from One Hundred Aspects of the Moon” by Jack Hunter




Yoshitoshi, Tsukioka


(A) Very Fine Condition




First Edition, Lifetime




Kobayashi Tetsujirō


Oban (10"x15"), Triptych


Birds / Beasts, Ghosts / Spirits, Monsters / Dragon, Night, Samurai / Warrior, Story

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
New subscribers receive a 10% off coupon. Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.