Wrestler Identity in Hiroshige Soga Brot

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Posted by Judy Hahn ( on July 11, 2016 at 20:30:04:


I'd appreciate help in identifying who the people are who are wrestling in this Hiroshige print. And how the father of the Soga Brothers was killed. There are a variety of identities on the internet, none that appear to be authoritative (that's the internet!).

I know the print is the first in the Hiroshige series: Soga Monogatari Zue.

Some say the two wrestlers are the Lord Kuto and Lord Ito, heads of neighboring domains, After Kuto lost the match, during the hunt Kuto tried to have Kudô Saemon Suketsune kill Lord Ito, but his arrow missed and killed the father of the Soga Brothers, of Kawazu Saburô Sukeyasu instead.

Others say that the wrestlers are Kawazu Saburô Sukeyasu and Kudô Saemon Suketsune.

The details for this second identification vary: Sukeyasu is a famous wrestler. They are stand-ins for the two Lords. That Suketsune was angry at having lost the match and had Sukeyasu killed. Or that they were cousins, and Suketsune killed Sukeyasu killed to take over his property and wealth.

Others say that the two wrestlers are Kawazu Saburô Sukeyasu and Matano Goro Kagenaga. If so, who is Matano Goro Kagenaga? Can find no information on him other than being identified as one of the wrestlers. Again possibly each representing one of the Lords, but the reason for the killing not explained. Possibly Lord Kuto was angry that his wrestler Kagenaga lost to Sukeyasu, so had Suketsune kill him?

One source has the two wrestlers as Matano Goro Kagenaga and Aizu Saburo Norimichi (no info on him either), with Kagenage being the victor not the loser.

If someone can read the character identity cartouches, and identify the wrestlers, and possibly anyone else in the print, it would be great!

If someone can tell me the real story behind the print, it would be really great!

Thank You!
Judy Hahn

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