Poems, Tales and Images

Artist Name:
Takeshi Yamada

Reincarnation of life from a Japanese Samurai Warrior of Genpei Gassen (Genpei War) to a Kabutogani (Warrior's Helmet Crab)

Pen and ink on colored paper

Size: 11" x 8-1/2"

Completion Date:
August 2, 2003

This is part of a series of drawings created with a homemade dipping pen made of the sharpened telson of a horseshoe crab.

This artwork is inspired by the Japanese Mythology about the origin of the Kabutogani (Warrior's Helmet Crab). Here is a summary of the mythology:

There was a big Japanese Civil War to take over power in the nation during 1180 AD and 1185 AD. This sublime war is called Genpei Gassen (War of Minamoto family and Taira family). The final stage of the war took place on the ocean at Dannoura, where the Minamoto family won the battle. Many Samurai warriors, soldiers and the family who had belonged to the defeated side, Taira, committed suicide.

Near the beach of Dannoura, there is a habitat of Japanese horseshoe crabs. If you see it from the top, you would see a Samurai warrior's face on the shell. People in the region explain that those who died became horseshoe crabs based on the Buddhism doctrine of the Rinne Tensei (Reincarnation of life).