Hisamatsu and Kyūsaku in Shinpan Utazaimon from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza

Seitaka Dōji from the folio Collection of One Hundred Kumadori Makeups in Kabuki, Collection 2
 

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Hisamatsu and Kyūsaku in

Shinpan Utazaimon

[The New Scandalous Ballad of Osome and Hisamatsu]

from the Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza

Hasegawa Sadanobu III, 1926 or 1927

Portrait of Saigō Takamori



IHL Cat. #1656

IHL Cat. #2485

About This Print

Picturing the puppets Hisamatsu 久松 and his elderly foster father Kyūsaku 久作 in the play Shinpan Utazaimon (The New Scandalous Ballad of Osome and Hisamatsu) written by Chikamatsu Hanji (1725-1783) and first staged in 1780. In this famous scene, Hisamatsu is rubbing Kyūsaku's shoulders just before Hisamatsu and Osome will decide to commit suicide if they cannot marry.

From a rehearsal of the scene The Bloodthirsty Sword


To see the stage set for this print go to Bunraku Theater Stage Set for Shinpan Utazaimon

Brief Plot Summary
Source: Historical Dictionary of Japanese Traditional Theatre, Samuel L. Leiter, The Scarecrow Press, 2006, p. 250-251 
A story of unrequited love and double suicide.  In Nozaki Mura the country girl Omitsu is in love with Hisamatsu, but he is in love with the city girl Osome. Aware that they might commit double suicide if thwarted, Omitsu cuts her hair off to become a nun.


The Other Prints in the Shinpan Utazaimon Set

As further explained below, each stage set print was part of a set of five prints consisting of a black and white explanatory sheet and three portraits of puppet characters appearing in the play.

explanatory sheet
新版歌祭文  お染久松
Source: Ritsuemikan University Art Research Center 201-1499
click on image to enlarge

The four print set for Shinpan Utazaimon
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


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

This collection of forty-eight color woodblock prints was designed by Hasegawa Sadanobu III (Konobu III) (1881-1963) 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. 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.

For more complete information on this series see the article Illustrated Collection of Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza

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 Goryō Bunrakuza.


 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)


Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #1656 and #2485
 Title or Description  Hisamatsu and Kyūsaku in Shinpan Utazaimon [The New Scandalous Ballad of Osome and Hisamatsu]
 Bunraku ningyō Hisamatsu Kyūsaku, Shinpan Utazaimon  
 文楽人形 形新版歌祭文 久松 久作

 Note: also seen translated as The Balladeer's New Tale of Osome and Hisamatsu; The New Orations Chanted at Buddhist Ceremonies
 Series  Illustrated Collection of the Famous Japanese Puppets of the Osaka Bunrakuza
 Nihon Meibutsu Ōsaka Bunraku-za Ningyō Gashū: 
 日本名物大阪文楽座人形画集
 Artist  Hasegawa Sadanobu III (Konobu III) (1881-1963)
 Signature
信 Konobu
 Seal  信 Konobu oval seal (see above)
 Publication Date  Taishō 15 or Shōwa 2 (1926 or 1927)
 Publisher  美術社 Bijutsusha, Tokyo and 版画会板元 Hangakai hanmoto, Kyoto
 Carver 佐藤重一 Satō Jūichi
 Printer 板垣八重松 Itagaki Yaematsu
 Impression  IHL Cat. #1656 and #2485: excellent
 Colors  IHL Cat. #1656 and #2485: excellent
 Condition  IHL Cat. #1656: excellent - paper abrasion upper right corner
 IHL Cat. #2485: good - foxing most noticeable in background; slightly trimmed
 Genre  文楽人形 bunraku ningyō
 Miscellaneous  unread seal on verso on HIL Cat. #1656
 Format  
 H x W Paper 
 IHL Cat. #1656: 14 3/4 x 10 in. (37.5 x 25.4 cm) 
 IHL Cat. #2485: 14 11/16 x 9 11/16 in. (37.3 x 24.6 cm) 
 H x W Image  IHL Cat. #1656: 14 3/4 x 10 in. (37.5 x 25.4 cm) 
 IHL Cat. #2485: 14 11/16 x 9 11/16 in. (37.3 x 24.6 cm) 
 Literature 

 Collections This Print
 The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 作品番号: 201-1492 and 201-1542A; Ritsumeikan University Art Research Center arcBK06-0002_54; National Diet Library; The Met Thomas J. Watson Library  240.3081 H27 Quarto; British Library System number: 018894603  
last revision:
5/14/2021
5/5/2020
11/20/2018
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