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Yoritomo Raises His Flag: The Night Attack on the Yamaki Castle

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Yoritomo Raises His Flag: The Night Attack on the Yamaki Castle, 1854; 8th month, color woodblock print (nishiki-e); triptych, Gift of Dennis W. Lee, public domain, 2012.90.1a-c

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Yoritomo Raises His Flag: The Night Attack on the Yamaki Castle


Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Japanese, 1797-1861)

Related People

publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi (Japanese, active late 19th century)


1854; 8th month


color woodblock print (nishiki-e); triptych

Dimensions (H x W x D)

a) image: 17 7/8 x 9 3/4; sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 3/4; b) image: 17 7/8 x 9 3/4; sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 3/4; c) image: 17 7/8 x 9 3/4; sheet: 14 3/8 x 9 3/4

Inscriptions & Markings

artist's seal: [Yoshi kiri seal], intaglio on red ground, right sheet: lower right; center sheet: lower left: left sheet: lower right

title: 頼朝旗起八牧館夜討図, printed in black, upper right of right print, within red rectangular cartouche

publisher's mark: , printed in black ink, lower right: left and right sheets; lower left: center sheet

date seal: 寅八, printed, lower portion of each sheet

censor's mark: , printed in black, lower portion of each sheet

signature: 一勇斎國芳画, printed, lower portion of each sheet

Collection Area

Asian Art; Graphic Arts



Japanese Traditional Prints

Object Type

relief print



Credit Line

Gift of Dennis W. Lee

Accession Number



public domain


Japanese woodblock prints


relief printing

relief prints



The first round of warfare between the Minamoto and Taira forces, in the 1150, ended in total defeat for the Minamoto. Yoritomo, the young son of the Minamoto general, was spared the death penalty and sent into exile in eastern Japan. As he grew to manhood, he won the loyalty of the local samurai, and in 1180 he issued a call to arms. His first successful military venture was a night attack on Yamaki Castle, a Taira estate, that same year. Over the next several years, Yoritomo’s allies chased the Taira to the westernmost end of the Japan. In 1185, Yoritomo established the first shogunate, or military government, in Kamakura, beginning the age of de facto rule by the warrior class.

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