Picture of the Gojō Bridge from the Chronicle of Yoshitsune

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Gallery 103

It looks like the Japanese version of David and Goliath: a hulking warrior prepares to strike at a youthful, pint-sized opponent. Warrior-monk Benkei was on a quest to become invincible; all he needed to do was to vanquish a thousand opponents, take the tips of their swords, and fuse them into the ultimate weapon. Each night Benkei waited on a bridge to challenge every swordsman who crossed his path. Yoshitsune, age 10, was Benkei’s final opponent. In this epic battle pitting youth against experience and brawn against dexterity, one of these two masters will prevail, and the other will become his faithful servant.