Of brigands and bravery: Kuniyoshi's heroes of the Suikoden is the first monograph in English on the stunning series of 74 prints illustrating figures from the Suikoden by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), one of the outstanding Japanese woodblock-print masters of the 19th century. The Suikoden (commonly known in English as The water margin) is the Japanese adaptation of the 14th-century Chinese vernacular novel, the Shui hu zhuan, which recounts the exploits of a group of rebels on Mount Liang (J. Ryosanpaku) under the lead of the brave and righteous Song Jiang. The Suikoden was enormously popular in Japan during the 19th century. It was Kuniyoshi's initial designs for the single-sheet print series The one hundred and eight heroes of the popular Suikoden (Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori) - in which the full-length portraits of the heroes are charged with a new sense of dynamism - that spurred a Suikoden craze in Edo (present-day Tokyo).
'The most thorough and user-friendly reference available on Suikoden illustration. Scholars, collectors and museum professionals with interest in Kuniyoshi will find this work invaluable. The nonspecialist will also find much to like about this volume. The marvelous illustrations and Klompmakers's lively descriptions of each print make for a truly pleasurable reading and viewing experience.' Allen Hockley in The Journal of Asian Studies A handsome and invaluable book. It will prove indispensable to all who have felt the strong and mysterious attraction of Kuniyoshi's Suikoden prints - now they can get the full story! - and will be prized by lovers of Japanese and Chinese art and culture in general. B.W. Robinson in Arts of Asia