From 'Illustrations of Heroes' by Katsushika Hokusai
First volume of set of four woodblock printed books
Museum no. E.15136-1886
This is the first volume of a four-volume set of woodblock printed books, Illustrations of Heroes, designed by Hokusai and engraved by Sugita Kinsuke and Egawa Tomekichi. The book contains stories of historical and mythical characters from Chinese and Japanese legend. The illustration here is from the 'Tale of Urashima Taro', a fisherman who falls in love with, and marries, Otohime, the daughter of the Dragon King of the Sea. The illustration here is of the moment when, after the birth of his child, he sees his wife in her true form as a dragon. When he eventually returns to the real world he discovers that some 300 years have passed.