Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Sendo Tonbei from the series One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Sendo Tonbei

from the series One Hundred Roles

of Ichikawa Danjūrō

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1898

Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)

IHL Cat. #1980

About This Print

The actor Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (1838-1903) as the evil ferryman Tonbei in the play Shinrei Yaguchi no watashi (Miracle and Yaguchi Ferry).  As in keeping with the rest of the series, extensive embossing is employed in the background and mica was applied to the upper black background and Tonbei's hair and beard.

Compare this collection's deluxe edition with another edition absent the red face makeup and multi-colored cartouche in the upper right corner of the print.  Other variations in color can also be observed.

For a profile of Ichikawa Danjūrō IX please see the article The Kabuki Actor and for a fascinating interview with the actor see Interview with Ichikawa Danjūrō IX.

Synopsis of Famous Scene from the Play "Shinrei Yaguchi no watashi"
Source: website of the Gifu Jikabuki Tourism Office
"One night, Yoshimine Nitta, who was escaping from pursuers sent by his enemy, and his lover, Utena, visited the house of Tonbee [Tonbei], a ferryman, for a one night stay. Tonbee had betrayed the Nitta family, which he used to serve, and killed one of Yoshimine’s older brothers, Yoshioki. Now Tonbee saw his chance to kill the younger brother, Yoshimine, and to get the credit for it.

Despite Tonbee’s scheme, his daughter, Ofune, fell in love with Yoshimine at first sight. She betrayed her father and let Yoshimine and Utena get away in order to protect the one she loved. Then she was killed by her father, Tonbee, for Yoshimine. Before dying, Ofune used her last strength and beat a drum, which is the sign to lift a siege, to let Yoshimine and Utena escape."

The Series One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō 

Source: Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, p. 127 and 26.

"In 1893 Kunichika undertook a commission for two series of single-sheet portraits that were each dedicated to an individual actor.  The first of these, One hundred roles of Danjūrō, featured the major roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (1838-1903) in a set of half-length portraits.  A square cartouche in the upper register of each print contains a verse or illustration, and the series title cartouche is backed by peonies, a flower associated with Danjūrō IX."

“While his best-known pieces from this period are triptychs, Kunichika produced some outstanding series of single-sheet portraits, such as the One hundred roles of Ichikawa Danjuro IX (Ichikawa Danjuro engei hyakuban) and One hundred roles of Baiko (Baiko hyakushu no uchi).   Like Kunisada’s set of ‘large-head’ portraits, Kunichika’s two series may be regarded as ‘monuments to his [Kunichika’s] career’.  Whilst Kunisada attempted an overview of all the greatest actors of the age, Kunichika’s two series focus on the Kabuki doyens, Ichikawa Danjuro IX and Onoe Kikugoro V.

The publisher Fukuda Kumajiro (together with Gusokuya Kahei) commissioned Kunichika to begin work on the One hundred roles of Ichikawa Danjuro IX in 1893.  The series was completed posthumously in 1903, the year of the actor’s death and under the supervision of Fukuda Shojiro (d. 1925.)  The prints in the series were sumptuously printed using expensive materials and techniques.  Each image documents the actor’s most successful roles; a text or illustration appears in the upper register.”

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1980
 Title (Description) Ichikawa Danjūrō 市川団十郎 as Sendo [Ferryman] Tonbei 船頭頓兵衛 [in the play Shinrei Yaguchi no watashi 神霊矢口渡]
 Series One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō
 市川団十郎演芸百番 Ichikawa Danjūrō engei hyakuban
 Artist Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
国周筆 Kunichika hitsu 
 Seal Toshidama seal below signature as shown above
 Publication Date April 1898 (as printed in left margin 明治卅一年四月 日印刷仝月 日発行)
福田熊次郎 Fukuda Kumajirō [Marks: publisher ref. 071; seal not shown]
二卋 渡辺彫栄 Nisei Watanabe Hori Ei 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - margins slightly trimmed; unbacked, some bleeding of red ink in left margin; bleeding of red ink into green area lower right of print; minor soiling in white hair
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Miscellaneous the telephone number 294 "二九四" for the publisher is printed at the bottom of the left margin
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 13 15/16 x 9 3/8 in. (35.4 x 23.8 cm)
 H x W Image
 13 1/8 x 8 9/16 in. (33.3 x 21.7 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago 2015.558;
Honolulu Museum of Art 26510; Waseda University Cultural Resource Database 007-1801 and 007-1936
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