The 12th century clashes of the Taira and Minamoto clans served as a favorite source of motifs for later writers and artists. The Minamoto drove the Taira, who ruled Japan for twenty years, out of the capital in 1183. Two years later, they were again forced to move their temporary base in Kyushu and escaped by boat. Kiyotsune, a sensitive young member of the Taira clan, decided the situation was hopeless. He calmed his mind by playing his flute under the moon, and then threw himself into the sea. Yoshitoshi sets Kiyotsune high in the composition, absorbed in his final song. Butterflies, the symbol of the Taira clan, adorn the purple fabric at the front of the ship. In the bottom right corner, the torches of the enemy ships approach, their devastation imminent.