Broadcast on July 2, 2015
Available until March 31, 2029
The Removal of the Imperial Family to Rokuhara, one of The Narrative Picture Scrolls of the Chronicle of the Heiji Civil War, is a roughly 40cm tall and 9m long picture scroll made in the 13th century. It depicts the real events of a 12th century incident, showing the brave deportment of many samurai warriors in the period when their power was beginning to surpass that of the emperor and aristocracy, the traditional ruling class. Picture scrolls were transmitted to Japan from China in the eighth century mostly as illustrated sacred Buddhist texts but in Japan, they developed in independent ways and came to be used to recount a wide range of stories. The viewer of the scroll must actively unroll and roll it repeatedly to see the pictures, which appear one after another very like an animated cartoon. This masterpiece makes wonderful use of this distinctive scroll-viewing technique to portray the martial magnificence of the samurai.