Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Du Qian, the Sky Toucher (Mochakuten Tosen - 摸著天杜遷) from the series The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden (Tsūzoku Suikoden gōketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori - 通俗水滸伝豪傑百八人之一個)

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Dates: circa 1827,created
Dimensions: 10.0 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Kagaya Kichiemon
(Marks 195 - seal 22-025)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; British Museum; Tokyo National Museum;

Physical description:

We first encounter Du Qian in Chapter 11 of the Outlaws of the Marsh (p. 178).

Zhu [Gui] and Lin [Chong] began climbing. Huge trees flanked the trail. Halfway up the mountain was a pavilion. A turn beyond that and they saw a large fortified pass. Before it were racks of spears and swords and bows and lances. On all sides were logs and boulders for rolling down the hill against invaders. Brigands went on ahead to announce them, then Lin and Zhu entered the pass.

They walked between two rows of pennants and battle insignia, and crossed two narrow defiles before coming to the gate of the stronghold itself. On every side were high mountains, with magnificent passes lying in between, together forming a powerful enclosure. In the center was a mirror-smooth plain, about four thousand feet in circumference. The main gate of the stronghold faced the pass. Other buildings stood in wings to the left and right.

Zhu Gui led Lin Chong to Righteous Fraternity Hall. A bold fellow sat in an armchair in the middle. This was the White-Clad Scholar Wang Lun. The man in the armchair to his left was Skyscraper Du Qian. In an armchair to his right sat Song Wan, Guardian of the Clouds. The two travellers came forward and hailed the brigands respectfully, with Lin Chong standing by Zhu Gui's side."


This print is listed as #13c in Klompmakers' book, Of Brigands and Bravery. Klompmakers wrote on p. 66: "Mochakuten Tosen is one of the original members of the Ryōsanpaku gang; he is the second-in-command after Ōrin and before Unrikongo Soman. Together they supervise a legion of about 800 bandits who spend their time robbing travellers." Later after a power struggle within the group, "...Ōrin is beheaded and Tosen becomes the ninth in charge and Soman the tenth."

Tosen's name first appears in Chapter 11.


Notice two of the motifs Kuniyoshi chose to illustrate this figure. The first is coral which not only appears on the bottom of his robes, but also as an element of design of the clock on the red lacquer stand to the left. The second is the use of a large crab on the cloth covering the top of Mochakuten Tosen's butt. It should be remembered that Kuniyoshi often used crabs in his print designs.


Also illustrated in Kuniyoshi by Juzo Suzuki, Heibonsha Limited, Publishers, 1992, no. 86.