This photo was taken in 2022 in Kyoto city, Japan, and posted on the Instagram account @gaaplite. The beautiful woman in the picture, wearing a vibrant and colorful traditional outfit, was portraying Tomoe Gozen. For those unfamiliar, Tomoe Gozen is more than just a character from Japan’s intricate history; she’s a symbol. As an onna-musha from the Heian period, Tomoe Gozen wasn’t just any samurai. She was involved in pivotal battles during the Genpei War, aiding Minamoto no Yoshinaka, leading to the establishment of the first shogunate. Her tales in the ‘Tale of the Heike‘ have been a beacon, inspiring several generations of samurai. Her life, battles, and legacy have been celebrated across various forms of art, from books and poems to films and songs.
I have always been captivated by Japanese art. The harmony of colors, the elegance of the pose, the intricate detailing of the costume immediately caught my attention. I was inspired to recreate this beauty in my own way, so I painted the scene in watercolor, attempting to capture its essence and preserve the memory of this captivating moment.