mg0277-Kunichika - Mirror of Demonic People, Good and Evil - Kozo Inaba-japanese-woodblock-print

Kunichika - Mirror of Demonic People, Good and Evil - Kozo Inaba

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Toyohara Kunichika

Nezumi Kozō (鼠小僧) is the nickname of Nakamura Jirokichi (仲村次郎吉, 1797–1831), a Japanese thief and folk hero who lived in Edo (present-day Tokyo) during the Edo period.

In 1822, he was caught and tattooed, and banished from Edo. On August 8, 1831, he was captured again, and confessed to the burglary of over 100 samurai estates and the impressive theft of over 30,000 ryō throughout his 15-year career. He was tied to a horse and paraded in public before being beheaded at the Suzugamori execution grounds. His head was then publicly displayed on a stake. He was buried at Ekō-in located in the Ryōgoku section of Tokyo. So many pilgrims have chipped away pieces of his tombstone for charms that his headstone has had to have been replaced a number of times since his death.

At the time of the arrest, Jirokichi was found to have very little money. This, combined with the public humiliation he dealt out to the daimyō, resulted in the popular legend that he gave the money to the poor, turning the petty crook into a posthumous folk hero similar to Robin Hood. The fact that he died alone, serving his wives with divorce papers just prior to arrest in order to protect them from sharing in the punishment as the law decreed, further enhanced his stature. 善悪鬼人伝 

Date: 1868

Condition: Very good color. Margins as shown, not backed, some soiling.