The death of the rebel leaders of the Kumamuto uprising
(Kumamoto bōdōzokkai uchijini no zu Meiji shōshi nenkiji 熊本暴動賊魁討死之図 明治小史年間記事) (1876) from the A short history of the Meiji Period: A record of events series (1876)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased from Admission Funds, 1992
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Gordon Darling Foundation
The Kumamoto uprising, also known as the Shinpuren Rebellion, was one of a number of uprisings that took place in the early Meiji period in reaction to the new government’s policy of modernisation (Westernisation) that was bringing change to traditional Japanese cultural values, dress and society. This print was published in the same year as the event, as a special edition with narrative description included in the upper right. The dramatic and blood-drenched scene can be interpreted as a romantic and somewhat melancholic view of the final futile attempts by the samurai to preserve the traditions of Bushido.