The actor Ichikawa Sadanji in the role of Marubashi Chūya

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

The actor Ichikawa Sadanji

in the role of Marubashi Chūya

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1883

IHL Cat. #361

About This Print

Source: Kabuki 21 website website
The actor Ichikawa Sadanji I in one of his most famous roles, that of Marubashi Chūya 丸橋忠弥(マルバシチュウヤ) in Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama Keian Taiheiki, which premiered in March 1870 at the Morita-za.  This print exists in another state as shown below.

Color variant
Kyoto University of Art and Design Database on Yakusha-e Prints
647-1, 2, 3

The Actor

Ichikawa Sadanji I   28 October 1842 ~ 7 August 1904
Source: Kabuki 21 website
Stage names: Ichikawa Sadanji I, Ichikawa Masuwaka, Ichikawa Koyone I, Ichikawa Tatsuzō

Other name: Ichikawa Shōchō I

Ichikawa Sadanji I belonged to the triumvirat of stars who dominated the Kabuki world during the Meiji era (the two others were Ichikawa Danjūrō IX and Onoe Kikugorō V). He was the leading actor of many shinkabuki dramas and worked on scripts written by authors who did not belong to the Kabuki world, like Matsui Shōō, or adapted contemporary popular novels, like Kôda Rohan's "Hige Otoko". His two most successful roles were Marubashi Chūya and Baba Saburobei in "Keian Taiheiki" and "Ôsakazuki".

"At first he was a poor actor, and gave no sign of a promising career. Mokuami, the playwright, assisted him greatly by providing him with new plays and furnishing him with advice, and so great was his advancement that he was able to hold his own with Danjūrō and Kikugorō" (Zoë Kincaid in Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan)

The Character Marubashi Chūya

Marubashi Chūya (丸橋忠弥) (died 1651) was a ronin (masterless samurai) from Yamagata and instructor in martial arts and military strategy.

The Play Keian Taiheiki (慶安太平記)

Written by renowned playwright Kawatake Mokuami the play tells the story of the The Keian Uprising (慶安事件 Keian Jiken) a failed coup d'etat attempt carried out against the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan in 1651, by a number of ronin. Though it failed, the event is historically significant as an indication of a wider problem of disgruntled ronin throughout the country at the time. Masterminded by Yui Shōsetsu and Marubashi Chūya, the uprising is named after the Keian era in which it took place.

Print Details
 IHL Catalog #361
 Title (Description)The actor Ichikawa Sadanji I in the role of Marubashi Chūya
 Artist  Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
 Signature ōju (by order) Toyohara Kunichika hitsu
 Seal  Toyohara Kunichika Hakubun Hoin
 Publication Date 1883 (Meiji 16)
Leftmost cartouche: 画工 gakō (artist) 荒川八十八 Arakawa Yasohachi (the artist's given name) followed by his address

Rightmost cartouche: 板元 Hanmoto 宮沢政太郎 Miyazawa Masatarō  followed by publisher's address [Marks: seal not shown; publisher ref. 341]

Horikō Ryō 彫工龍
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair- thinning to left panel; part of left margin damaged and repaired; not backed; wrinkling
 Genre ukiyo-e; nigao-e; yakusha-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 13 7/8 x 9 1/4 in. (35.2 x 23.5 cm) each sheet
 Collections This Print
 Kyoto University of Art and Design Database on Yakusha-e Prints 626-1,2,3; The Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts