No. 48 – Big in Japan

Prog 1752’s (2011) Low Life[1] cover [from an idea by Matt Smith] featuring Dirty Frank by D’Israeli[2] v Musashi Gorô Sadayo Dies in Battle at the Age of Fifteen [前太平記辛島合戦 武蔵五郎貞世討死図] [detail] by Katsushika Hokusai [葛飾北斎] (1760–1849)

15 year-old 10th century samurai Musashi Gorō Sadayo died battling imperial troops at the Battle of Karashima [not the Battle of Mt. Shimahiro, where the remainder of the rebellion was put down] after is lord, Taira no Masakado (†940), proclaimed himself the new emperor of Japan in 939.

Ukiyo-e [浮世絵, “pictures of the floating world”] woodblock prints and paintings flourished in Japan in the 17th–19th centuries. “Big in Japan” is an expression originating in the 1970s used to describe western based musical groups who achieve success in Japan but not necessarily in other parts of the world.

D’israeli’s own detailed account of this cover’s creation appears on his excellent blog here.


  1. Series created by Rob Williams and Henry Flint
  2. Matt Brooker, aka D’Israeli D’Emon D’Raughtsman

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