The death of the rebel leaders in the Battle of the Kumamoto Uprising
The Meiji period was a time of turmoil and tremendous upheaval as Japan was transformed from a medieval to a modern society. The radical social and political changes were accompanied by incessant chaos and civil wars.
This print has the immediacy of newspaper reportage of a contemporary event. It illustrates an uprising by a group of discontented samurai who were dispossessed as a result of the reunification and modernisation of Japan after the downfall of the Shogun (military ruler). The revolt was suppressed by imperial forces and the rebel leaders died in battle.
Yoshitoshi has adopted and transformed the Western technique of realism and foreshortening into a unique style of Japanese art. It also shows the effective use of the newly imported aniline dyes from the West.