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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Heroes and Heroines in the Tale of Heike: Writing on a Cherry Tree, 1898
Ink on paper
8.5 x 13.6 in.

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2009.1.85

signature: "Yoshu Chikanobu"

Object Description
From the series "Heroes and Heroines in the Tale of Heike." Samurai Kojima Takanori tried to rescue Emperor Go-Daigo who was on the way to be transported to a remote place from Kyoto. One night, Kojima sneaked into the camp, but could not get past the guards to attempt a rescue. He wrote a verse in Chinese on a nearby cherry tree, "Heaven didn't desert King Gou-jian of Yue (465 BCE), likewise Heaven will never abandon Your Majesty; a loyal follower like Fan-li will come to free Your Majesty from hardship." He then disappeared into the night. The next morning, the guards found the message on the tree, but none of them could read Chinese. Only Emperor Go-Daigo understood the meaning of the verse. He was pleased and encouraged.

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