In this exceptionally rare and iconic triptych, Kuniyoshi asserts the richness of his imagination. At the center of the middle sheet, the celebrated sword master Miyamoto Musashi (1583-1647) thrusts his sword into a large whale off the coast in Hizen province. As the whale’s body fills the space both vertically and horizontally, this print exemplifies Kuniyoshi’s embrace of the triptych space. The churning of the surrounding waves and white-specked body of the northern pacific right whale (semi-kujira) create a striking sense of motion. Despite the large format, detail is not overlooked. Kuniyoshi achieves the uneven shading on the whale’s back through itabokashi, a technique achieved through abrasion of the woodblock. With its bold use of the triptych format, this design remains as striking today as it was 170 years ago.