Kumasaka no Chohan was an outlaw-priest and leader of a band of robbers. One night in 1174 he made the mistake of attatckin a gold merchant who was lodging at an inn in Akasaka. The 15 year old Minamoto no Yoshitsune was traveling with the gold mechant, on his way to stay with his uncle and avoid the tension that was building at court between the Minamoto and Tiara families Yoshitsune had been tought martial arts by the tengu, mythical birdlike creatures, and was an excellent swordsman. He easily dispatched a number of Kumasaka's desperadoes as they attacked the inn. Kumasaka then challenged him and was also killed.
The son of a Tokyo physician, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (né Kinzaburo Yoshioka) is considered one of the last great masters of ukiyo-e art. As a young boy he showed remarkable talent and began to study under the renowned Kuniyoshi at the age of 12. Yoshitoshi also studied under Yosai and was adopted by the Tsukioka family.
As modernization pushed ahead, Yoshitoshi suffered a nervous breakdown in 1872, living in poverty and ceasing all artistic production. A year later, he resumed working; adopting the artist name Taiso and fulfilling his creative potential. In 1885, he began one of his most acclaimed series, 100 Views of the Moon. In the spring of 1892, he suffered his final mental breakdown and was committed to the Sugamo Asylum. On the 9th of June 1892, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 53.
Yoshitoshi’s prints are known for their eerie and imaginative component. He worked in a Japan undergoing rapid change, straddling the domains of the old, feudal systems and the new, modern world. His considerable imagination and originality imbued his prints with a sensitivity and honesty rarely seen in ukiyo-e of this time period. From ghost stories to folktales, graphic violence to the gentle glow of the moon, Yoshitoshi not only offers compositional and technical brilliance, but also unfettered passion.