Mase Magokuro Masatoki (間瀬孫九郎正辰), one of the faithful samurai of Asano Naganori (浅野長矩), was a skilled swordsman. Here we see him depicted, during the legendary assault of the forty-seven ronin (四十七士) on the residence of Kira Yoshinaka (吉良義央), while being run over by a pile of books thrown at him by an enemy. In his right hand he holds his katana (刀), but actually in that occasion, due to a pain in his hands, he managed to use it only at the end of the fight and instead began his attack with a bow, to then continue with a spear and even with a mallet.
This precious woodblock print, made by the artist Utagawa Yoshitora (歌川芳虎), is the syllable “Ne” (ね) from the series “Biographies of Loyal and Dutiful Retainers” (忠臣義士銘々伝), commonly referred to by the translation “The Story of the Faithful Samurai in The Storehouse of Loyal Retainers”, and is entitled “Mase Magokuro Ki no Masatoki” (真世孫九郎紀正辰).
The work, printed in May 1864 by the publisher Wakasaya Yoichi (若狭屋与市), owner of Jakurindo (若林堂), has the right signs of aging and some worming and binding holes.