Tamenobu Fujikawa (Japanese, active circa 1910-1920)
DimensionsSheet : 9 9/16 x 14 in. (24.29 x 35.56 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelThe Tiger Stone (torako ishi) was a large boulder located near the Tōkaidō outside the village of Ōiso. Japanese legend says that in the 12th century a married couple from Ōiso who were having difficulty conceiving a child prayed to the goddess Benzaiten for help. Benzaiten gave the couple a pebble as a sign that their prayers had been answered, and as the wife’s belly grew with her pregnancy, the pebble also grew and became a boulder. The child born through this miraculous intervention was a girl named Tora Gozen who grew up to become a famous beauty and the lover of Soga Sukenari, a samurai whose exploits were the subject of many popular novels and plays during the Tokugawa period. In this print, Yaji and Kita have stopped to view the Tiger Stone when they meet an attractive mother and daughter who are also traveling along the Tōkaidō. The mother says that according to local lore, the stone can be moved easily by a handsome man but cannot be budged even an inch by an ugly one. When Kita tries to pick up the stone in an effort to impress the two women, he fails completely and the two heroes have to slink away in embarrassment.