Hatamoto (Senior Samurai of the Shogun) Corps Formation Rules


Presented here is an emaki (horizontal picture scroll) that depicts a battle formation procession setting off for the battlefield. It is 13 meters long. At first sight, it resembles the Kan’ei Gyōkoki (Record of an imperial visit in the Kan’ei period), in which pictures and letters are printed in type. However, the characters and horses were not printed in type, but were affixed using stamps. The actual number of stamps used is surprisingly small. The 54 mounted soldiers in the scroll were created from just five stamps, but they were given different appearances by the use of hand-painted colors and the addition of battle standards and flags to denote who was the general. The official titles (such as commissioner of flags and commissioner of spears) are inscribed in black ink. Although some similar works of the same type exist, because this is not a traditional print, there are none with the same schema. The stamps used also vary somewhat depending on the work. The systematized study of modern warfare emerged as a new field of learning in the Edo period (1603–1867), with more than 60 different schools appearing. It is estimated that materials that illustrated battle formations, such as this book, were used in the study of warfare. The need to provide graphic illustrations of numerous soldiers and horses gave rise to this kind of work. Such works were produced in small numbers, and the use of stamps enabled quick and simple production and reproduction.

Last updated: December 12, 2017