taira no koremochi

 Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) 
Taira-no Koremochi Vanquishes a Female Demon at Togakushi Mountain, 1887

Taira no Koremochi preparing to vanquish Kiji, the demon of Mount Togakushi, with his sword. While hunting deer in the hills outside Kyoto, Lord Koremochi ran into a party of beautiful women so he joined them in a picnic. Sleepy with wine, he dozed off, and dreamed of a messenger from the god of war warning him that one of the women was actually the demon Kiji, who intended to kill him. He awoke to see the woman’s true nature reflected in the water below: a hideous horned demon with a leering face and shaggy hair. He grips the hilt of his sword, ready to swiftly draw it and attack the monstrous creature.

Tsurumaru in the Heian Period

Addition to my previous post

Tsurumaru Kuninaga’s first owner in the Heian Period is said to be Taira no Koremochi, from one of the most ancient and powerful samurai clans of Japan, with its story famously recorded in the Tale of Heike. In 1051, his son Shigemochi assumed the office of Akita Jounosuke(秋田城介), the title for the governor of Akita castle of Dewa province, Tsurumaru was born around this time. However the governor’s position was abolished in 1062, and Shigemochi relocated his family to Echigo where they became an affluent clan(豪族). Shigemochi’s son Sadashige took the family name of Jou(城) as homage to their previous position as Akita Jounosuke, and Tsurumaru was passed down in the Jou Clan. A hundred years later, Sadashige’s descendent Jou Nagamochi entered on the side of Taira in the Genpei War(1180-1185, war between Taira and Minamoto samurai clans for control of Japan, led to Minamoto no Yoritomo’s creation of the Kamakura shogunate) .

However the Taira Clan was defeated and Nagamoshi was in a precarious situation. Minamoto no Yoritomo’s infamous vassal Kajiwara Kagetoki persuaded him to absorb Nagamoshi into his own forces, and Nagamoshi went on to prove himself by defeating the Fujiwara Clan in the Battle of Oushyuu(1189). After Yoritomo’s death, Kagetoki who was vastly unpopular with the other vassals and was eventually killed and Nagamoshi who relied on his support was again in a tough situation. His clan eventually rebelled against the Kamakura shogunate in the confusion of the power struggle after Yoritomo’s death, name the Kennin War(1201), but was defeated, and the Jou Clan was subsequently erased from history.

Keep reading

Taira no Koremochi and Demon, from the series Valor in China and Japan (Wakan gōki zoroi)

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Japanese, 1839 - 1892. Engraved by Hori Ushi. Published by Daisada.

Made in Japan, Edo Period (1615-1868) or Meiji Period (1868-1912)


Color woodcut

Philadelphia Museum of Art