Copped and cropped from Tsuchiya 2000
University of Tokyo
Yubin hochi shinbun
No. 9001 -- [1877-2-??]
Kumamoto rioters names

Story in brief

The story is told through a list of names and images of some of the more prominent names.

The title -- divided between the right and left sheet -- reads 熊本県下 / 暴徒連名 (Kumamoto kenka / Boto renmei) and means "Kumamoto prefecture / Rioters names".

Arraigned across the top, from right to left, are the names of some of the rioters -- members of the "Respect-the gods party" (敬神党 Keishinto), more popularly called the "Divine-wind alliance" (神風連 Shinpuren). The lines at the end read "Total 152 names including those not shown".

On the altar to the left is a votive offering to 天照皇太神 (Tensho Kodaijin) -- aka as Amaterasu Oomikami -- the divine progenitor of Japan and the Yamato race. Hanging from the spear in the center, below the YHS banner, is a ribbon saying simply 敬神 (keishin) or "respect the gods".

The drawing depicts several members and gives their names in cartouches. The warriors -- several of them named in cartouches -- are proud on the eve of their defeat.

The defiant younger warriors are shown in the center. Their older leader, Ueno Kengo (上野堅吾), calmly sits to the extreme right -- the most prominent spot on a publication meant to be viewed from right to left.


The Kumamoto rebels named in the list were members of Shinpūren" (神風連) or "Divine wind alliance". The party equated itself with the gods who had guarded Japan over the ages and protected it from Mongol invasions during the 13th century.

The Shinpuren rebellion (神風連の乱 Shinpuren no ran) -- sometimes called the Keishinto rebellion (敬神党の乱 Keishinto no ran) -- took place on 24-25 October 1876. The triptych is a memorial to the deaths of party members who were killed during the rebellion, or who killed themselves afterwards.

While the drawing appears to glorify the rebels, calling them "boto" (rioters) would seem to diminish their glory. But such expressions seem to have cliches on a par with calling Robin Hood a "robber" while admiring the hero of Sherwood Forest.

Here the publisher and Yoshitoshi, who understand the commercial value of stories about dying for a cause, are probably calling the party members "boto" -- in deference to the government's condemnation of the rebels -- in order to disarm critics who might otherwise have questioned their memorialization of the rebels and even their slogans -- as though to say the intentions of the rebels, if not their acts, had been honorable.

A number of books have been written about the Shinpuren in Japanese. In best article in English is John M. Rogers, "Divine Destruction: The Shinpuren Rebellion of 1876", in New Directions in the Study of Meiji Japan (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1997), which can be read on Google Books.

Related prints

Similar name lists appear on other prints. Yamaguchi rebels pursued (THS-9005) disclosed the names of some of the dissidents involved in the Hagi rebellion, which followed the Shinpuren rebellion by just a few days.

The Shinpuren rebellion was also the theme of Shinpuren rebellion (YHS-1127), which features Ueno Kengo in action on a brown horse. Whereas Yoshimura's Kumamoto rebels defeated (TNS-9004) shows him on a white horse.

Print information

Series: Yubin hochi shinbun
Issue: No issue number [YHS-9001]
Series number: No series number
Date: Meiji 10-2-?? [1877-2-??] (otodoke)
Publisher: Kumagaya Shoshichi [Kinshodo]
Drawer: Tsukioka Yonejiro
Signed: Taiso Yoshitoshi
Carver: Unsigned
Writer: Unsigned
Price: Not stated
Size: Oban triptych
Image: University of Tokyo (Tsuchiya 2000)

Principal sources

Tsuchiya 2000
CCMA 2008