Hino Kumawakamaru Leaping from Bamboo

YOSHITOSHI TSUKIOKA: A Mirror of Wisdom, Benevolence and Valour in Japan:
Hino Kumawakamaru Leaping from Bamboo, 1878

Hino Kumawakamaru was the son of Hino Sukemoto, a supporter of the Emperor Go-Daigo in his struggle against the Kamakura Shogunate. A close advisor to the Emperor, Hino and his brother were active in the early conspiracies, pardoned once, Sukemoto was the second time exiled to Sadogajima (Sado Island) and then executed in 1332.

The story is that Hino, still a boy, travelled to Sado and begged to be allowed to see his father before his execution, but was not allowed. He determined to avenge his father's death, and one night managed to escape his confinement and kill the man who had performed the execution with the sword that had been used. He determined to escape and serve the Emperor in his father's place, but was unable to swim the vast moat around the castle. Spotting a grove of tall bamboo, he climbed to the top and let the bending bamboo deposit him on the other side.

Hino was, in the Meiji period, popular with traditionalists as he combined support for the Emperor with the good old samurai values of filial piety and bloody vengeance, and Yoshitoshi did a number of prints on his story.

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