Autumn play at the Kabukiza - Tokihira-kō Nanawarai starring Ichikawa Danjūrō

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Autumn play at the Kabukiza

Tokihira-kō Nanawarai

(starring) Ichikawa Danjūrō

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1897

IHL Cat. #940

About This Print

Kunichika portrays the actor Ichikawa Danjūrō IX* in the role of Lord Tokihira in the play "Tokihira-kō Nanawarai" (Lord Tokihira and the Seven Laughs.)

When this print is held at the correct angle to the available light, an intricate pattern in the blue robe appears.

click on image for detail

* for a profile of  Danjūrō IX see the article The Kabuki Actor.

The Play "Tokihira-kō Nanawarai"
Source: Ritsumeikan website
Translation courtesy of Lynn Katsumoto

Utagawa Kunichika (ōban triptcyh)
“Kabukiza Aki kyōgen Sugawara” [Autumn play at the Kabukiza]
Tokihira-kō Nanawarai Ichikawa Danjūrō
Played at Kabukiza theatre Nov. 2, 1897
Chinsetsu yumi harizuki (椿説弓張月) (middle act/scene) Shihei kō nanawarai 
Lord Tokihira Ichikawa Danjūrō IX

The play referred to in this work, “Tokihira Kō (ōyake: Lord/an official - in this case, Lord Tokihira) and the Seven Laughs” is a rewrite of “Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami” which was titled “Tenmangu Natane no Gokū” by the playwright Namiki Gohachi and revised by Fukuchi Ōchi to star Ichikawa Danjūrō IX in a historical drama. The depicted setting fits well the evil plan he devised – to bid farewell to Sugawara Michizane who was exiled to Dazaifu. Tokihira, the one who remains behind, breaks up laughing in this scene. As revised by Ōchi, Tokihira does not hatch his evil plan to edge out the obstructing Michizane as in the original version, but was changed into a scene in which imperial reform policies cause the exile of the conservative Michizane. The production of this historical drama failed to draw a crowd, and ended badly. 

Chinsetsu yumihari zuki (椿説弓張月) is the title of this scene/act
(Lit: Cameila Statement Bow-stringing Month: pun-rich, it probably means something like “the crescent moon of the strange theory)

歌川国周(大判錦絵3枚続) UY0265,0266,0267
「時平公七ワらひ 市川団十郎」 
明治30年(1897)11月2日 歌舞伎座 
ちんせつゆみはりづき   しへいこうななわらい 
椿説弓張月 中幕 時平公七笑 


Print Details

 IHL Catalog #940
 Title (Description) “Kabukiza Aki kyōgen Sugawara” [Autumn play at the Kabukiza] 
Tokihira-kō Nanawarai Ichikawa Danjūrō 
「歌舞伎座秋狂言 菅原」「時平公七わらひ 市川團十郎
 Artist  Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
 Signature Toyohara Kunichika hitsu 豊原国周筆 with Toshidama seal
 Seal  Toshidama seal under signature
 Publication DateNovember 1897
Fukuda Hatsujirō 福田初次郎 [Marks: similar to 30-062; pub. ref. 070]
seal reading: 彫弥太 Hori Yata; seal of the carver 渡辺 弥太郎 Watanabe Yotarō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair - backed with heavy album paper; three sheets joined; separation at joinings; minor soiling throughout; minor folds; margin trimmed on right removing part of publisher's seal.
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e (役者絵)
telephone number of publisher
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 14 1/4 x 28 1/8 in. (36.2 x 71.4 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Ritsumeikan University Art Research Center UY0265,0266,0267