Skip to main content

Japanese illustrated manuscript entitled "Buko Setsugekka" ('Beautiful Military Exploits') by Matsuyama, 1721 (Kyoho 6)

 Item — Box: CLX-A-1126
Identifier: Coll-1848/19-0104

Scope and Contents

This is a guide on how a samurai gets dressed with 21 hand drawn and coloured illustrations on fine paper, dating from 1721, reading right to left. Each drawing is accompanied by poems and descriptions in Japanese calligraphy. The book commences with a man putting on underwear ('fundoshi'), followed by step-by-step pictures of him adding more and more items of clothing and armour, ending with a complete suit of samurai chain kusari gosok armour. This sequence is followed by an illustration of him holding an enemy's decapitated head dripping blood, then by one of him eating a bowl a rice (resting after the battle?), and finally, by one of him painting a bird, which might represent the fact that samurai were expecty to be noble and highly educated.

The samurai is holding a Shimazu (Satsuma) clan flag. The Shimazu clan, one of the most powerful in Japan, controlled the Satsuma province for roughly four centuries prior to the beginning of the Edo period.

The name of the artist, Matsuyama, is written at the end of the preliminary leaves, as well as the date, Kyoho 6.


  • Creation: 1721 (Kyoho 6)


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the repository in advance.


1 volume (In blue custom-made box.)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in August 2019. Accession no SC-Acc-2019-0104.


25.6 x 17.2 cm

Processing Information

Description created by Aline Brodin in August 2019, using information from the seller.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379