Katsuta Shinzaemon Taketaka (勝田新左衛門武尭), one of the faithful samurai of Asano Naganori (浅野長矩), was a strong man, and fearless. 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 hit by a water bowl thrown at him by an enemy. Taketaka is also known to have written on the sliding door of Kira’s son’s room, from which the young man had fled in a hurry, the following scornful note: «The ronin paid a visit to their esteemed adversaries and were disappointed that milord was not here».
This precious woodblock print, made by the artist Utagawa Yoshitora (歌川芳虎), is the syllable “Mu” (む) 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 “Katsuda Shunzaemon Minamoto no Taketaka” (加津田俊左エ門源武尭).
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.