Danjūrō VII's Benkei as Fudō Myōō

Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese, 1786–1865)

Period: Edo period (1615–1868)

Date: ca. 1824

Culture: Japan

Medium: Polychrome woodblock print (surimono); ink and color on paper

Dimensions: 8 7/16 x 7 3/8 in. (21.4 x 18.7 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1921

Accession Number: JP1251


Benkei is an armed and courageous warrior. Seated on a pile of humans, this character presents overlapping images of the superpowerful heroes Benkei and Fudō Myōō (Immovable Guardian King of the Buddhist Law), holding a sword and a rosary.

Fudō Myōō, particularly at the Shinshōji temple in Narita, is a protector of the Ichikawa family. This surimono, a privately commissioned print, might have been a New Year's gift to celebrate the birth of the future Danjūrō VIII.