Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Iruka and Omiwa and Ichikawa Sadanji as Fukashichi in the play Imoseyama Onna Teikin (The Teachings for Women)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Iruka and Omiwa

and Ichikawa Sadanji as Fukashichi

in the play

Imoseyama Onna Teikin (The Teachings for Women)

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1883

Onoe Taganojō II as Kidomaru, Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Hirai Yasumasa, Nakamura Shikan IV as Hakamadare no Yasusuke [in Yanagi Sakura Azuma no Nishiki-e]

IHL Cat. #1001

About This Print

Another print by Kunichika related to the October 22, 1883 performance of the play Imoseyama Onna Teikin at the Shintomi-za in Tokyo.  (See IHL Cat. #597 for related print.) This print depicts three characters who appear in Act IV, a domestic subplot, of the play.  They are (from right to left), [Soga no] Iruka, played by Ichikawa Danjūrō IX; Fukashichi, the fisherman, played by Ichikawa Sadanji; and Omiwa, the daughter of a sake seller, also played by Ichikawa Danjūrō IX.

Note the fantastic dragon motif on the robe worn by Sadanji in the center panel as he strikes a mie pose.

The Actors Pictured in This Collection's Print

from right to left: 
Ichikawa Danjūrō IX 市川団十郎 in the role of Iruka 伊留鹿 (いる鹿)
Ichikawa Sadanji 市川左団次 in the role of Fukashichi  ふか七
Ichikawa Danjūrō IX 市川団十郎 in the role of Omiwa おみわ

For profiles of the actors please see the article The Kabuki Actor.

Similar Print for a 1899 Performance of Imoseyama Onna Teikin

Location and Title: 歌舞伎座新狂言 妹背山婦女庭訓
Performance date: 明治32 (.1899)・04・
Cast and Characters: 
お三輪 <9> 市川 団十郎
ふか七 <5> 尾上 菊五郎
入鹿 <9> 市川 団十郎
New play at the Kabuki-za; The Teachings of Women
Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Omiwa
Onoe Kikugorō V as Fukashichi
Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Iruka
The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University,
Material Number 100-3024, 100-3023, 100-3022

The Play "Imoseyama Onna Teikin"

Sources: Kabuki Encyclopedia, An English-Language Adaption of Kabuki Jiten, Samuel L. Leiter, Greenwood Press, 1979, p. 140-141.

Kabuki first presented this work in 1771, the year of its puppet theatre premiere, at Osaka's Kogawa-za. Edo did not see it until 1778.  Various later versions of the play were staged, but the original continued to be popular to the present day.

The story of Fujiwara Kamatori's defeat at the hands of Soga no Iruka and the legend of the pearl diver (ama) have been treated in a number of sources, including the Nō play Ama and Chikamatsu Monzaemon's Taishokan (1712).  Therefore, Imoseyama Onna Teikin derives from a wide variety of legends and tales.  It skillfully weaves the many threads together and provides a work whose grandiose conception, ingenious plot, and beautiful composition make it the representative play of the ōdai mono category.  Its most frequently performed acts are Act II (Yama no Dan and Yoshino no Dan) and Act V, which contains the Sugi Sakaya, Michiyuki, and Goten scenes.

Act IV of the Play
Source: The Theatrical World of Osaka Prints, Roger S. Keyes and Keiko Mizushima, David R. Godine in association with Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1973, p. 74.
Act IV of Imoseyama is a domestic subplot.  Omiwa, the daughter of a sake seller, falls in love with the son of Kamatari, one of the leaders of the anti-Soga party.  When he refuses to reveal his identity, she attaches a spool of thread to his cloak and follows him, winding the reel.  Her lover is following an unidentified princess with the same device, and all finally find themselves at Iruka's palace.  Omiwa is noticed by one of Kamatari's subjects, Kanawa Gorō, who is loitering nearby disguised as Fukashichi, the fisherman.  He stabs her.  As she dies, he reveals that her lover was a courtier and that she will now be helping him to overthrow Iruka.  Fukashichi then mixes her blood with the blood of a black-toed deer and smears it on his magic flute, making it possible to recover a certain Sacred Sword from Iruka at last, and sap his power.

Print Details
 IHL Catalog #1001
 Title (Description) Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Iruka and Omiwa and Ichikawa Sadanji as Fukashichi in the play Imoseyama Onna Teikin (The Teachings of Women)
妹背山婦女庭訓 いもせやまおんなていきん 
 Artist Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
 Signature Toyohara Kunichika hitsu 豊原国周筆 with Toshidama seal
 Seal Toshidama seal beneath artist's signature
 Publication DateMeiji 16, 9th month (September 1883)
Date seal reading 明治十六年九月 御届 (Meiji 16, 9th month, delivered)
Komiyama Shōbei 小宮山昇平
Left half: 出板人 小宮昇平
Shuppanjin Komiyama Shōbei preceded by publisher's address
Right half: 画工 
gakō Arakawa Yasohachi  followed by his address

[Marks: pub. ref. 269; seal not shown]
彫弥太 Hori Yata
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - unbacked; minor soiling, trimmed to image along most margins
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 14 x 9 3/8 in. (35.6 x 23.8 cm) each sheet
 Collections This Print
 Tokyo Metropolitan Library M348-44-2, M348-44-11, M348-44-9; The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 100-3013, 100-30146 100-3015; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.41783a-c
last update: