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Picture of Masakiyo's Challenging Battle as Retold in the Chronicle of the Great Peace

Gallery 103

A bomb explodes, catapulting warriors, weapons, helmets, and flags into the air. The title of this battle scene refers to the Chronicles of the Grand Pacification, a Japanese epic that covers the years 1319–67. But it actually depicts a battle from the Japanese civil wars of the 1500s. Why the discrepancy? During the Edo period (1603–1868), the military government (bakufu) forbade the portrayal of actual historic figures in the arts. So Yoshitoshi instead cunningly related the scene to an ancient text and slightly altered the names of the historical characters.

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