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Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza

Prints from an Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza by Hasegawa Sadanobu III (Konobu III)
(Prints in The Lavenberg Collection)
Click on any image for details
    

Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Yoshitsune senbon zakura from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2474

Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cheery Trees (Michiyuki Dance Scene) from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
IHL Cat. #1657 (later edition)

Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Ichi-no-tani Futaba Gunki from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for
Ichi-no-tani Futaba Gunki, 1926

IHL Cat. #2486
(first edition with tissue overlay)

Tamaori Hime in Ichi-no-tani Futaba Gunki from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Tamaori Hime in
IHL Cat. #2487

   
IHL Cat. #2486
 
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act 5 from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2489

Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Kanadehon Chūshingura Act 5 from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
IHL Cat. #1659 (later edition)
IHL Cat. #1659

Hyakushō Yoichibei in Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act 5 from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Hyakushō Yoichibei in Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act 5, 1926
IHL Cat. #2490






Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act 7 from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for
Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act VII,
1926 or 1927

(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2491

Ōboshi Yuranosuke in Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act 7 from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Ōboshi Yuranosuke in
Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act VII,
1926 or 1927

IHL Cat. #2492
 
Yūjo Okaru in Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act 7 from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Yūjo Okaru in
Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act VII,
1926 or 1927 

IHL Cat. #2493


Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Igagoe dōchū sugoroku from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for
Igagoe dōchū sugoroku, 1926

(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2475

Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Dan-no-ura Kabuto Gunki from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for
Dan-no-ura Kabuto Gunki, 1926 or 1927

(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2478
 
Hatakeyama Shigetada in Dan-no-ura Kabuto Gunki from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Hatakeyama Shigetada in
Dan-no-ura Kabuto Gunki, 1926 or 1927

IHL Caty. #2479


Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Honchō Nijūshikō from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
 Bunraku Theater Stage Set for
Honchō Nijūshik
ō, 1926 or 1927
(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2476
 
Koshimoto Nureginu in Honchō nijūshikō from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Honchō nijūshikō, 1926 or 1927
IHL Cat. #2477

 
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami,
1926 or 1927

(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2481


Issun Tokubei in Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Issun Tokubei in
Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami,
1926 or 1927

IHL Cat. #2482

Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Shinjū Ten no Amijima from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for
Shinjū Ten no Amijima, 1926 or 1927

(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2480

Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Shinpan Utazaimon from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2483
 


 
Omitsu in Shinpan Utazaimon from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Omitsu in
Shinpan Utazaimon, 1926 or 1927

IHL Cat. #2484
 
Hisamatsu and Kyūsaku in
Shinpan Utazaimon, 1926 or 1927

IHL Cat. #1656 and IHL Cat. #2485

 
Bunraku Puppet Stage Set for the Scene Tearing the Carriage Apart in Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami [Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy]
Bunraku Theater Stage Set for
Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami,
post-WWWII (orig. 1927)

IHL Cat. #1528


Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Kamakura Sandaiki from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
(first edition with tissue overlay)
IHL Cat. #2472

Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Kamakura Sandaiki from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
IHL Cat. #1658 (later edition) 
 
Sasaki Takatsuna in Kamakura Sandiki from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
Sasaki Takatsuna in
Kamakura Sandaiki, 1927

IHL Cat. #2473









Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza, 1926-1927
by Hasegawa Sadanobu III (Konobu III) 

The 12 sets/volumes of prints

The four print set for Yoshitsune zenbon sakura (Volume 2: published April 20, 1926)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
 Tsuzumi Tōta 皷藤太, Kitsune Tadanobu 狐忠信Shizuka Gozen 静御前

The four print set for Ichi-no-tani Futaba Gunki (Volume 3: published May 20, 1926)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Mukandayū (Mukannotayū) Atsumori 無官太夫敦盛Kumagi Jirō Naozane 熊谷次郎直実Tamaori Hime 玉織姫


The four print set for Chushingura Act V (Volume 4: published June 20, 1926)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Hayano Kanpei 早野勘平,  Hyakushō Yoichibei 百姓与一兵衛, Ono Sadakurō 斧定九郎


The four print set for Chushingura Act VII (Volume ?: published 1926 or 1927) 
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Ōboshi Yuranosuke 大星由良之助 Yūjo Okaru 遊女お軽 , Teroka Heiemon 寺岡平右衛門

The four print set for  Igagoe dōchū sugoroku (Volume 6: published September 20, 1926)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Musume Oyone 娘お米, Oya Heisaku 雲助平作Gofukuya Jūbei 呉服屋十兵衛


The four print set for Dan-no-ura Kabuto Gunki  (Volume ?: published 1926 or 1927)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Yūkun Akoya 遊君阿古屋, Hatakeyama Shigetada 畠山重忠, Iwanaga Saemon 岩永左衛門


The four print set for Honchō Nijūshikō (Volume ?: published 1926 or 1927)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Koshimoto Nureginu 腰元濡衣, Takeda Katsuyori 武田勝頼, Yaegaki Hime 八重垣姫


The four print set for  Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami (Volume ?: published 1926 or 1927)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Tsurifun no Sabu 釣船の三婦, Issun Tokubei 一寸徳兵衛Danshichi Kurobei 団七九郎兵衛 

The four print set for Shinjū Ten no Amijima (Volume ?: publisher 1926 or 1927)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Kamiya Jihei 紙屋治兵衛Koya Magoemon粉屋孫右衛門, Kinokuniya Koharu 紀の国屋小春

The four print set for Shinpan Utazaimon (Volume ?: 1926 or 1927)
puppets from left to right  (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Osome お染Hisamatsu and Kyūsaku 久松久作 , Omitsu お光

The four print set for Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Volume 9: published February 5, 1927)

puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Toneri Umeōmaru 舎人梅王丸, Toneri Sakuramaru 舎人桜丸, Toneri Matsummaru 舎人松王丸


The four print set for Kamakura Sandaiki (Volume 11: published July 15, 1927)
puppets from left to right (as positioned on the stage set print's tissue overlay):
Miuranosuke Yoshimura 三浦之助義村,  Sasaki Takatsuna 佐々木高綱, Tokihime daughter of Tokimasa 時政息女時姫


About the "Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets
of the Osaka Bunrakuza"


Note: For background on the Bunraku puppet theater please see the list of reference materials at the bottom of this page.

This collection of forty-eight color woodblock prints was designed by Hasegawa Sadanobu III (Konobu III) (1881-1963), an Osaka-based artist with a deep interest in Japanese traditional theater, and issued over the period March 1926 (Taishō 15) to August 1927 (Shōwa 2)1 by the publishing houses Bijutsusha 美術社 in Tokyo and, on a subscription (members only) basis, by Hangakai hanmoto 版画会板元 (板畫會板元) in Kyoto. The cost per print set was 3 yen by subscription and 3 yen 50 sen for a single print set. The editor and publisher for both the Bijutsusha and Hangakai hanmoto sets was Hayashi Eikichi 林榮吉, who was also the editor for Hasegawa's Collection of One Hundred Kumadori Makeups in Kabuki. (See Hasegawa Sadanobu III (Konobu III) (1881-1963) for prints from this collection.)

The Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza consists of twelve sets of prints each set depicting a specific play in the bunraku repertory, as listed in the below table. Each set contains a stage set for the specific play along with three prints of puppet characters appearing in the play and an explanatory sheet, for a total of forty-eight color woodblock prints and twelve monochrome explanatory sheets. Each of the stage set prints was originally issued with a tissue overlay showing the position of the three puppet characters on the stage. All of the plays pictured were performed at the Bunraku Theater (Bunraku-za) located within the Goryō Shrine compound in Osaka. The Goryō Bunraku-za burned down in November 1926 after what has been described as "an extremely difficult managerial era" and "lost interest" by the public in the late Taishō era.2 It is unknown what role, if any, the management of the Goryō Bunraku-za may have played in the formulation and issuance of this print series in their efforts to revitalize the theater.

The prints as originally issued made use of deluxe printing techniques including embossing on many of the puppet robes and faces, use of woodgrain backgrounds, bokashi shading and black lacquer to highlight the wigs.

click on image to enlarge
Detail of embossing, Tamaori Hime in
Ichi-no-tani Futaba Gunki, 1926
 
click on image to enlarge
Detail of embossing, Issun Tokubei in 
Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami, 1926 or 1927

 
click on image to enlarge
Detail of printing on fan to create 3D effect,
Sasaki Takatsuma in Kamakura Sandaiki
Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami, 1927

 
click on image to enlarge
Detail of woodgrain texture and bokashi in background,
Hyakushō Yoichibei in Kanadehon Chūshingura, Act 5, 1926
1 Dates are taken from the colophons on the envelopes containing the print sets in the Waseda University Archives

2 National Diet Library website page http://www.ndl.go.jp/scenery/e/column/kansai/goryo_bunrakuza.html which provides a history of the Goryo Bunrakuza.


Reissued by Uchida Publishing

At a later date, likely after WWII, the publisher Uchida acquired the woodblocks for these prints and reissued many, if not all, of the prints. The Uchida puppet prints bear their octagonal Uchida hanmoto seal 版元 うちだ, as can be seen in the lower right corner of the below print on the right, and their prints typically have larger margins. The color palette was also altered on many of the Uchida reissued prints, although in the below first edition print on the left, the original orange ink has oxidized to a rich brown. I believe the stage set prints, although they do not carry Uchida's seal, were also reissued by Uchida but without the tissue paper overlays and added margins as can be seen in IHL Cat. #1658 Stage Set for Kamakura Sandaiki.

click on image to enlarge
 Sasaki Takatsuna in  Kamakura Sandaiki 
left: as originally issued in 1927 by Bijutsusha and Hangakai hanmoto
right: as reissued by Uchida Publishing, likely post-war.
Note the small modification to the hair on the puppets head in the Uchida print.

click on image to enlarge
Stage Set for Kamakura Sandaiki
left: as originally issued in 1927 by Bijutsusha and Hangakai hanmoto
right: as reissued by Uchida Publishing, likely post-war.

The Twelve Plays Portrayed

 Play Name in Japanese  Play Name in English
 壇浦兜軍記
 Dan-no-ura kabuto gunki
 Chronicle of the Battle of Dan-no-ura
 義経千本桜
 Yoshitsune senbon zakura 
 Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
 一の谷嫩軍記  
 Ichi-no-tani futaba gunki
 Chronicle of the Battle of Ichinotani
 仮名手本忠臣蔵、五段目
 Kanadehon Chūshingura, go danme
 The Treasury of Loyal Retainers, Act 5
 仮名手本忠臣蔵、七段目
 Kanadehon Chūshingura, shichi danme
 The Treasury of Loyal Retainers, Act 7
 伊賀越道中双六
 Igagoe dōchū sugoroku
 The Revenge at Igagoe
 心中天網嶋
 Shinjū ten no amajima
 The Love Suicides at Amijima
 新版歌祭文
 Shinpan Utazaimon
 The New Scandalous Ballad of Osome and Hisamatsu
 菅原伝授手習鑑 
 Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami 
 Sugawara and the Secrets of  Calligraphy
 本朝廿四孝
 Honchō nijūshikō
 Twenty-four Examples of Filial Piety
 鎌倉三代記
 Kamakura sandaiki
 Three Generations of Kamakura Shoguns
 夏祭浪花鑑 
 Natsumatsuri Naniwa kagami 
 Summer festival at Naniwa (Osaka)

Decorative envelopes exist for each set of four prints and the explanatory sheet as does a decorative portfolio or outer box containing the entire set of plays.


Envelope Volume 2

「長谷川小信筆 日本名物大阪文楽座人形画集 第二段」

click on image to enlarge


The collection's title 日本名物大阪文楽座人形画集 (Ōsaka Bunraku-za Ningyō Gashū: Nihon Meibutsu) has been variously translated as Illustrated Collection of the Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza; Book of Noted Puppets of the Bunrakuza Osaka and Famous Products of Japan: Osaka Bunraku Theatre Dolls, Book of Prints.


Colophons for the Tokyo-based Bijutsha set and for the
Kyoto-based Hangakai hanmoto supscription set
colophon accompanying the first set of prints published by Bijutsusha 美術社 in Tokyo
大正十五年月十
printed: March 15, 1926
大正十五年二十日發行
issued/published: March 20, 1926
定価30銭せ
list price: 3 yen, 50 sen  
編輯 發行 林榮吉
editing and publishing Hayashi Eikichi
筆者  長谷川小信 
artist: Hasegawa Sadanobu
彫師 佐藤重一
carver: Jūichi Satō
師 板垣八重松
woodblock printer: Itagaki Yaematsu
發行所  美術社
publishing house: Bijutsusha
colophon accompanying the 4th set of prints published
by Hangakai hanmoto 會板元 in Kyoto and sold to "members only"
大正十五年六月十
printed: June 15, 1926
大正十五年六月二十日發行
issued/published: June 20, 1926
 費参 會員限リ
membership fee: 3 yen  limited to members only
編輯 發行 林榮吉
editing and publishing Hayashi Eikichi
筆者  長谷川小信 
artist: Hasegawa Sadanobu
彫師 佐藤重一
carver: Jūichi Satō
師 板垣八重松
woodblock printer: Itagaki Yaematsu
發行所  會板元
publishing house: Hangakai hanmoto
Reference Materials 

Bunraku: The Art of the Japanese Puppet Theatre
, Donald Keene and Hiroshi Kaneko, Kodansha International, Ltd., 1965

Web Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: Japan Fact Sheet Bunraku https://web-japan.org/factsheet/en/pdf/32Bunraku.pdf

Columbia University Libraries: The Barbara Curtis Adachi Bunraku Collection

National Theatre of Japan Japan Arts Council: Invitation to Bunraku

Nippon.com: The Rich History and Uncertain Future of Bunraku Puppet Theater

"A Note on Bunraku" by Susan Sontag, appearing in The Threepenny Review, No. 16 (Winter, 1984) p. 16.


Stage set for the play Imoseyama Onna Teikin
image source: Web Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: Japan Fact Sheet Bunraku https://web-japan.org/factsheet/en/pdf/32Bunraku.pdf


last revision:
5/16/2021 created

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