Moko Shurai Ekotoba (蒙古襲来絵詞)

"Moko Shurai Ekotoba" is a pair of picture scrolls by an unknown author. It is also known as "Takesaki Suenaga Ekotoba." It is said that Suenaga TAKESAKI, a "gokenin" (vassal of the shogun) in Higo Province, ordered to make the picture scrolls to describe his distinguished service in Mongol invasion attempts against Japan in the later Kamakura period. The pair of picture scrolls is one of the old Imperial treasures and, owned by Imperial Household Agency, is now preserved in the Museum of the Imperial Collections in the East Garden of Edo-jo Castle, Chiyoba Ward, Tokyo.


The pair of picture scrolls depicts scenes of the battles including Suenaga at the center of them in Mongol invasion attempts against Japan. It is known as the only visual material to show Mongolian soldiers fighting in infantry formations, battle ships, or guns and other arms used in the battles. The date 'February in the first year of the Einin era' (which corresponds to March of 1293 in the western calendar) as well as family precepts, is written down at the end of the picture scrolls.
(The era name was changed to 'Einin' in August of the same year.)

Although the pair of picture scrolls itself is thought to have been made in the Medieval period, some people argue that it was later revised, altered or edited, considering some differences between depictions of Mongolian soldiers and Japanese mounted samurai warriors. Especially the three Mongolian soldiers standing face to face with Suenaga (refer to the picture above) are thought to have been added in the early-modern period, because they are apparently different in their equipages, or depicted in different ways from other Mongolian soldiers in the same picture scrolls. This theory is being introduced in the Cultural Exchange Exhibition room of Kyushu National Museum.

[Original Japanese]