| Old Boar in the Snow by Konoshima Okoku|
With all other things
Blew in this storm
The boar (inoshishi) symbolises courage, strength, energy and single-pointed focus. While this was admired, inoshishi-bushi – warriors who charged blindly into the fray – were criticised for their inflexible approach.
|During Yoritomo's hunting party at the foot of Mt. Fuji, Nitta Shiro Tadatsune kills a gigantic boar by Kitao Shigemasa (Courtesy of Boston MFA)|
Boars were key elements in several well-known stories: Nitta Shiro Tadatsune leapt on the back of a giant boar that was wreaking havoc in the shogun Yoshitomo's hunting party, killing it with his short sword. (He was arrested and executed soon after by Yoshitomo – this was seen as a result of killing what was seen as a local god/spirit).
|Yamamoto Kansuke Killing a Boar by Shuntei (ArtofJapan.com)|
Yamamoto Kansuke, military advisor to Takeda Shingen, was famously lame (and blind in one eye) as the result of a fight with a large boar. This was a factor in his rejection by the fastidious Imagawa Yoshimoto; he later turned to Shingen for employment, in whom he found someone who saw his true value.
|Boar A quick sketch by Maruyama Okyo|
One last story is about the painter Maruyama Okyo, who was famous in his day for drawing from live subjects. One day, he showed an acquaintance a picture he had just done of a sleeping boar. His friend praised him for depicting a dead boar so accurately. Okyo was a bit put out by this, so he went back the next day, only to find that it was infact a dead boar that he had drawn.