No.1.1 Ōboshi Yuranosuke Yoshio
The ‘Yuranosuke’ in Yoshio’s name came from his father. His mother was the daughter of a family named Ikeda, of Bizen. Through his mother, Yuanosuke became a chief councillor of the Akao clan, in Banshū, and managed the clan’s lands with such concern for the farmers that they accorded him all the respect of a parent.
After the unforeseen disaster to the central family and the dispersal of all the retainers, Yoshio watched the repose of their enemy with ever-increasing resentment. He then took charge and laid plans, swearing forty-some faithful samurai into an iron confederation.
They then swept in one night and attacked the enemy’s mansion, took the head of the enemy lord, and offered it up at the grave of their departed master.
Their craft, courage and self-sacrificing loyalty has gone beyond anything known to man, past or present.
Yoshio excelled in all the martial arts of the Kōshū school and was a favoured student of Yamaga Jingoemon Motoyuki. Under conditions of complete secrecy, he handled his subordinates with great skill. His son, Yoshikane, age sixteen, followed his father and never looked back, as did the boy’s mother, faithful even to death, the epitome of heroism.
One’s lord’s life is heavier than ten thousand mountains.
One’s own life is lighter than a hair.
David R. Weinberg. Kuniyoshi: The faithful samurai. Hotei Publishing – Leiden, The Netherlands, 2000, no.1.1. pp.40,41.
Basil W. Robinson. Kuniyoshi The warrior prints. Oxford. 1982. S53, no. 1.