It is so easy to miss what’s going on in Japanese prints – sometimes just looking hard isn’t enough. There are two prints on this page, one is of a female warrior battling a man and the other is of a male warrior doing the same thing. Surprisingly – they both
look very like each other. The print on the right represents the young hero Yoshitsune-no Minamoto in his famous fight with the giant monk Benkei on Gojo Bridge. The print at the top of the page represents a female warrior of a similar period Tomoyoe Gozen fighting with (and most likely decapitating) Musashi Saburoemon Arikuni. The source for these characters is the Heiki Monogatari, an epic poem written by collaboration from oral traditions in the fourteenth century that describes the bloody wars of attrition between the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan in the twelfth century.
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