Honda Tadakatsu at Komaki, 1584

Honda Tadakatsu at Komaki, 1584

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Honda Tadakatsu at Komaki. Detail from a 19th-century woodblock illustration showing legendary Japanese samurai Honda Tadakatsu (1548-1610) on horseback following his victory at the Battle of Mount Komaki in 1584. Honda Tadakatsu is wearing his distinctive antlered battle helmet and carrying his famous spear known as 'tonbo giri' or Dragonfly Cutter (said to be so sharp that a dragonfly landing on it would be cut in half). Tadakatsu saw Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his men in pursuit of his Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, and despite being heavily outnumbered, challenged them successfully at the banks of the Shonai River to allow Ieyasu to escape safely. Toyotomi Hideyoshi was said to have been so struck by the bravery of this warrior, he ordered that no harm come to him or his men. The artwork is by Toshikata Mizuno (1866-1908) who studied under Yoshitoshi Tsukioka.

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