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Waki Kyōgen from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Waki Kyōgen ワキ狂言

(Auspicious plays)

from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater

by Adachi Ginkō, 1897

IHL Cat. #673

IHL Cat. #1612 (later edition)

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 an annual waki kyogen performance starting at dawn, announced by the banging of the large drum, consisting of auspicious dances such as the Dance of the Seven Lucky Gods and the Sanboso dance.  Reference is made in the scroll to both the Ichimura-za and Nakamura-za theaters in Edo.

Scroll Transcription
click on image to enlarge
ワキ狂言 三座とも三番叟の次ぎに脇狂言を演ず 一番太鼓に夜明けを告げワキ狂言に日出を拝すと云ふ位にて舞臺まだ闇く人の顔も碌々見へず 今其次第を云ハゞ中村座ハ大江山にて頼光の鬼退治 市村座ハ七福神の舞 守田座ハ甲子待に福の神の来ると云ふ何れも古雅なるものなり 出勤の役者ハ稲荷町の下廻り 囃子方ハ三枚目より見習迄の内之?を勤む 大体なる芝居好きも此ワキ狂言ハ悉く見る者稀なりとぞ 千秋亭? 記

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
 #673; #1612
 Title or Description  Waki kyōgen ワキ狂言 (Auspicious plays)
 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  Ginkō 吟光
 Seal  Ginkō
 Publication Date  #673: 1897 (Meiji 30), January 11 明治三十年一月十一日印刷仝年一月十五日発行
 #1612: undated, but usually dated to 1897
#673: Hasegawa Sumi 長谷川 寿美 as shown on left [Marks: seal 25-406; publisher ref. 102]
#1612: no publisher's seal shown, but Index/Prologue sheet from the later edition contains an embossed seal reading 長谷川 板 (Hasegawa han).
 Impression  #673 and #1612: excellent
 Colors  #673 and #1612:excellent 
 condition  #673: good - slightly trimmed; backed with heavy album paper
 #1612: good - light toning
 Genre  ukiyo-e; yakusha-e 
 Format  vertical ōban
 H x W Paper
 #673: 14 x 9 1/4 in. (35.6 x 23.5 cm)
 #1612: 15 3/4 x 10 13/16 in. (40 x 27.5)
 H x W Image
 #673: 13 11/16 x 9 1/16 in. (34.8 x 23 cm)
 #1612: 13 11/16 x 8 15/16 in. (34.8 x 22.7 cm)
 Collections This Print
 British Museum 1983,0523,0.3.5; The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-0205 and 201-0702; Museum of Fine Arts Boston RES.53.22; National Diet Library 1309615; Edo-Tokyo Museum (Tokyo Digital Museum 91970050); Tokyo Metropolitan Library 577-010-05; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University AcNo.国会456-00-005