Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Zhang Heng, the Boat Flame (Senkaji Chōō - 舩火兒張横)
about to slay General Hotentei from the series
One Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Shuihuzhuan
(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 - 1830,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,10.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese 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; Lyon Collection - another print of this character by Yoshiharu;Tokyo National Museum;

Physical description:

"In chapter 115 [of the Suikoden] Chōjun's soul possesses the body of his brother Chōō in order to carry out revenge on the enemy general Hōtentei who had ordered Chōjun's death at the Yukin water gate in chapter 114. Shortly thereafter Hōtentei tries to escape through an unguarded gate, but he is captured by Chōō who suddenly emerges out of the water. Chōō first stabs Hōtentei's horse with his sword and then beheads him. In this print Chōō, the tip of his sword against Hōtentei's cheek, looks back towards a flame above the water. The flame most likely represents the soul of Chōjun which dictates the actions of Chōō's body. Chōō wears only a loincloth which clearly showcases tattoos of pine sprays, maple leaves and an eagle or raven on his left shoulder; the latter chases a little monkey tattooed on his belly. These body decorations are not mentioned in the Shuihu zhuan. A black carp is swimming upstream in the background: it might symbolise Chōjun's perserverance in hunting down an enemy, even after his death."

This print is illustrated in Of Brigands and Bravery by Inge Klompmakers, p. 177. The text is on page 176.


In another version the spirit possession is described in Chapter 96: "“I'm Zhang Shun. Because I was killed by spears and arrows in the channel outside Yongjin Gate, a trace of my spirit refused to leave and floated on the water. This moved the Marsh−Shaking Dragon King residing in West Lake. He made me Lord of Jinhua and kept me on in his underwater Dragon Palace as a spirit noble. When you were breaking into Hangzhou today, brother, I dogged the footsteps of Prince Fang and, in the middle of the night, followed him out of the city. I saw brother Zhang Heng on the river, borrowed his body, flew up the bank, hastened to the foot of Five Clouds Hill, killed that scoundrel and hurried back to see you!”


There are two prints in the Lyon Collection dealing with the exploits of Senkaji Chōō. This one by Kuniyoshi and the other, #715, by Yoshiharu.