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Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Narukami Shōnin in the play Narukami from the series The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Jūhachiban)

 

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Narukami Shōnin

in the play Narukami from the series

The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Jūhachiban)

by Torii Kiyosada and Torii Kiyotada VII, 1896

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Narukami Shōnin in the play Narukami from the series The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Jūhachiban)

IHL Cat. #991

About This Print

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX, in the upper right panel, playing the role of Narukami Shōnin 鳴神上人 in the kabuki play Narukami 鳴神.  Beneath him is an unidentified actor in the role of princess Kumo no Taemahime.  The Ichikawa family crest (mon) of nested squares is shown to the left of Danjūrō, beneath which appears 九世市川団十郎 (9th Generation, Ichikawa Danjūrō) and the character played 鳴神上人 (Narukami Shōnin.)

While not visible in the above scan of this print, this print, as with others in the series, displays deluxe printing techniques, including embossing covering most of the prints background (a section of which can be seen under "Print Details, Signature" below), the use of mica highlights on Taemahime's collar and a subtle pattern on Narukami's robe visible only when held up to the light at a certain angle, as shown below.

 
 

click on image to enlarge

The Play Narukami

Source: Kabuki Eighteen Traditional Dramas, Kawatake Toshio, Chronicle Books, 1985, p. 24.
"Its story originally came to Japan from India and after a Nō play "Ikkaku Sennin" it was taken up for Kabuki. It is a delightful drama.  The holy priest Narukami, angry that his petition to the Imperial Court has been refused, captures the dragon god of rain (ryūjin) and confines him in a rock pool beneath the waterfall which he seals off with a straw rope to indicate the sacred boundary.  The country is without rain and so it is decided at the Imperial Court to send the beautiful and clever princess [Kumo no Taemahime] to Narukami.  Narukami faints when the princess demonstrates how she had to lift up her skirt to get across a stream to reach her lover.  When she revives him with water from her mouth, he for a moment realizes the danger.  To prevent any action by him, the princess tells him that she wants to become a nun and when they are left alone she starts to complain of a violent pain.  Their embrace only leads to a desire to become husband and wife which has to be celebrated with a drink of sake.  Drunk, Narukami tells the princess how to release the god of rain and falls asleep.  The princess hastily cuts the straw rope and her mission accomplished, departs.  Narukami, in a different, spectacular wig, makeup and costume wakes up and wonders why it is raining and then gets into an uncontrollable rage and runs off after her."

The Kabuki Eighteen

Source: Kabuki Encyclopedia, An English-Language Adaption of Kabuki Jiten, Samuel L. Leiter, Greenwood Press, 1979, p. 152.
"The Kabuki Eighteen," a collection of plays established by Ichikawa Danjūrō VII, stresses the specialaragoto acting art of the Danjūrō line.  In the Meiji period other acting families began to gather their most successful plays into similar collections.  See the Title Page from the series The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Juhachiban) for the list of plays.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #991
 Title or Description  Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Narukami Shōnin in the play Narukami 
 九卋市川団十郎 鳴神上人 鳴神
 Series  The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Jūhachiban) 
 歌舞伎十八番
 Artist  Torii Kiyosada (1844-1901) and Torii Kiyotada VII (1875-1941)
 Signature
right-most signature: Tadakiyo hitsu 忠清筆 followed by Tadakiyo seal
left-most signature: Torii Kiyosada ga 鳥居清貞画 followed by 画楽Chōhō seal
 Seal  as shown above: Tadakiyo seal right, beneath signature; 画楽Chōhō seal left, beneath signature
 Publication Date  1896 (Meiji 29) 明治二十九年 (this collection's print does not carry the date, but other impressions show the date and publisher's information in the left margin.) 
 Publisher  長谷川寿美 Hasegawa Sumi (publisher's seal or name, sometimes present in the left margin, is not present on this collection's print)
 Engraver 
 彫工弥太 Horikō Yata (carver's seal, sometimes present in the left margin, is not present on this collection's print)
 Printer  楷工大亀 Surikō Ōkame (printer's seal, sometimes present in the left margin is not present on this collection's print.)
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good - not backed; light toning throughout; minor soiling  
 Genre  ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Miscellaneous  embossing throughout 
 Format  vertical oban 
 H x W Paper 
 15 1/8 x 10 1/4 in. (38.4 x 26 cm) 
 Literature 

 Collections This Print
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston RES.53.16; Tokyo Metropolitan Library 5721-C008-03; Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-5517 and 201-0191 and 201-01787; Edo Tokyo Museum 94202529 and 93201588
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