“Ishikawa Goemon”
Harizanmai GOTCH
五打 “石川五右衛門”




This is a back piece of Ishikawa Goemon, being boiled to death in a pot, by Gotch who runs Harizanmai, one of the most prestigious studios in Kyoto. The burning fire of his signature deep red and gaku expressing a rising cloud of steam depict the horror of the execution.

This expression also accentuates Goemon’s bravery in protecting his child being boiled with him to the very end, even in the midst of the fierce torture he was subjected to. The bold composition which eliminates unnecessary objects shows Gotch’s drastic style.


一説には時の為政者である豊臣秀吉を暗殺すべく伏見城の寝室に忍び込んだ際に捕縛され、一族もろとも死罪になったと伝えられている。辞世の句は「石川や 浜の真砂は 尽くるとも 世に盗人の 種は尽くまじ」であるとされ、天下の大泥棒と謳われた五右衛門の豪胆な気風が窺える。

Ishikawa Goemon is a bandit leader who is said to have existed in the Azuchi-Momoyama period (around 1600). Since his targets of theft were limited to people of power such as greedy samurai warriors and wealthy merchants, he was regarded as a chivalrous thief and was praised by the general public. As a result, he has been the subject of various dramas and novels, and there is no shortage of legends about him, such as that he was from a powerful family that was destroyed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and also that he was a master of the Iga Ninjutsu.

According to one theory, he was captured when he snuck into the bedroom of Fushimi Castle to assassinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ruler of the time, and was sentenced to death along with his entire family. His death haiku meant “Even if the sand of the beach is exhausted, the seeds of thieves will never run out”, and from this we can see the bold spirit of Goemon who was known as the greatest thief in Japan.

※See Gotch’s interview here
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