Important Cultural PropertyStory of Obusuma Saburo, emaki

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  • 1 scroll
  • Color on paper
  • 29.3x1260.9
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • A-11889

The story is about two warrior brothers, one is Yoshimi Jiro, who enjoys the elegant Kyoto lifestyle, the other is Obusuma Saburo, dedicated to the warlike arts. Jiro was attacked by bandits on his way back from guard duty in Kyoto and died, after asking Saburo to take care of his wife and children. However, Saburo abused Jiro's wife and children. He separated one of Jiro's daughters from a provincial governor because the governor was attracted to her at first sight, and introduced his own daughter instead. The story ends with the scene where the governor becomes disgusted by the ugliness of the daughter, but because the story in its present form lacks some parts, there might have been more to the story. It is famous as an emaki (narrative picture scroll) that depicts scenes from the lives of warriors, such as battle fields. The paintings share some important characteristics with Ise Shin Meishoe Utaawase (Jingu Chokokan Museum, Important Cultural Property), which is thought to have been painted in Einin 3 (1295), and there is the opinion that Yoshimi Jiro in the story might have been based on Yoshimi Jiro Yoritsuna from the Ise region, who is mentioned in the October 13th article of Azuma Kagami (literally Mirror of the East) in Bunji 3 (1187). For these reasons, some hypothesize that this emaki was created according to an order from some person of high class in the Ise region.