YOSHITOSHI (1839-92)

Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-99) Releasing Cranes on the Seashore
Signed: oju Yoshitoshi hitsu
Series: Mirror of Famous Commanders of Great Japan
Publisher: Kumagai
c 1876

Minamoto no Yoritomo was a warrior, and in the 12th century he achieved power that was second only to the emperor. In 1192 became the first Kamakura Shogun. Among his more notable exploits was the collecting, banding (with gold), and then releasing of 1,000 tancho (red-crowned) Japanese cranes. The primary purpose of the banding was to find out how long cranes lived; according to legend, they lived 1,000 years. It was requested that people who saw banded cranes report—and not harm—them. Some of the cranes were supposedly seen several centuries after Yoritomo’s death.

Considered one of the best designs in the series.

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