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Fūbunkiki from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Fūbunkiki 風聞きゝ

(Listening to rumors)

from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater

by Adachi Ginkō, 1897

Ōtsu Inari from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater

IHL Cat. #1611

About This Print

This print, part of a series of twenty-five prints (plus a prolog/index print) picturing events in a typical year in an Edo theater, depicts a soba (buckwheat noodle) stand in front of the Ichimuraza Theater, which is one of the three officially recognized Kabuki theaters of Edo. "Nihachi" (二八, literally 'two-eight'), seen on the noodle stand, came from the noodles that cost sixteen (two times eight) mon a bowl and also from the proportion of 20 parts udon flour to 80 parts soba flour.

After a performance, spectators enjoyed criticizing the program of the day, eating soba in front of a theater. Both critical and favorable reviews were useful for the theater promoters to make the next performance better. Therefore, theaters often sent some people as spies to those places to gather spectators' comments and proactively reflect them by replacing or revising programs.

About This Series

Ōedo Shibai Nenjū Gyōji drawn by Adachi Ginko [with two prints contributed by Torii Kiyosada (1844-1901)] is a set of twenty-six prints (including an index page), depicting the manners and customs relating to Kabuki plays/theaters in the Saruwaka-chō, the Kabuki theater district which flourished until 1867, the first year of the Meiji Era. The Ritsumeikan Art Research Center posits that this series was issued in response to the public's "remarkable nostalgia for Edo period, the 'Great Tokugawa Epoch'."  It goes on to say that this series is a continuation of the many earlier Kabuki theater guidebooks which "introduce[d] not only about things on a stage but also properties, organization of theatres and backstage."  

At least two editions of this series were released.  One edition, likely an earlier edition, contains the publisher's name, Hasegawa  Sumi, and associated publishing and printing information along the left margin.  This earlier edition, with the publishing information, is often found bound into volumes, with the margins of the prints trimmed back. My guess is that these bound volumes were created by the publisher. Later edition prints all have an embossed border around the entire image which is not present on the earlier edition and have wider margins. It is possible that the later edition prints were sold by subscription.

To view the entire series go to this collection's print Title Page from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater.

Differences Between the Two Editions

1. All earlier edition prints contain the publishing and printing information, including dates, along the left margin.  In the later edition of prints  only the Index/Prologue print contains any publishing information, with the publishing house 長谷川 板 (Hasegawa han), proceeded by the publisher's address, embossed in the lower left corner.   No date is given on this print or any other later edition prints.
2. Most earlier edition prints contain the artist's signature and/or seal.  Later editions do not carry the artist's signature or seal.
3. All later edition prints contain an approximately 1/2" wide embossed border around the entire image area not present on the earlier edition.
4. Some later edition prints may have had the original blocks reworked.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Fūbunkiki 風聞きゝ(Listening to rumors)
 Series Annual Events of the Edo Theatre
 Ō-Edo shibai nenjū-gyōji 大江戸しばゐねんぢうぎやうじ
 Artist Adachi Ginkō (active 1874 – 1897)
 Signature not signed
 Seal not sealed
 Publication Date originally 1897 (Meiji 30)
 Hasegawa Sumi 長谷川 寿美 [no publisher's marks on this edition]
 likely a second edition with an embossed signature and bearing no signature or seal
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 condition good - light toning
 Genre ukiyo-e 
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 15 13/16 x 10 13/16 in. (40.2 x 27.5 cm) 
 H x W Image
 13 3/4 x 9 in. (34.9 x 22.9 cm)
 Collections This Print
 British Museum 1983,0523,0.3.6; The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-0214 and 201-0703; Museum of Fine Arts Boston RES.53.40; Edo-Tokyo Museum (Tokyo Digital Museum 91970167); Tokyo Metropolitan Library 577-10-6/東577-010-006; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University AcNo. arcUP2045 CoGNo. arcUP2039 AlGNo. arcUP2039; National Diet Library 寄別8-4-2-1