Ichikawa Danjūrō, Ichikawa Kodanji and Ichikawa Sadanji I in Ashigara Yama no Ba

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

The actors Ichikawa Danjūrō IX, Ichikawa Kodanji V and Ichikawa Sadanji I

in Ashigara Yama no Ba      

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1896

IHL Cat. #389

About This Print

The actors Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Yamanba 山姥, the Old Lady of the Mountain (right panel), Ichikawa Kodanji V (center panel) as her son Kaidōmaru 怪童丸 and Ichikawa Sadanji I (left panel) as Yamakazu 山かづ  in “Ashigara Yama no Ba” 足柄山の場, performed at the Meji-za. 

The Edo-Tokyo Museum lists this play as an entr’acte or short entertainment (such as a song or dance) inserted between the acts of a play.  I have found a reference for this short piece on the website of the Global Performing Database (http://www.glopad.org/pi/en/record/digdoc/1004955) as an act within the play "Shitennō Momiji no edoguma" written in 1804 by Tsuruya Namboku IV.

This print exists in another state as shown below.

Title/Object name: Entr’acte at the Meijiza (The Ashigara Mountains Scene)
Artists/Production person name: TOYOHARA Kunichika
Dimension: 37.3* 25.4*
Tokyo Digital Museum

The Actors Pictured

National Diet Library, Japan
Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (九代目)市川団十郎 (1838 ~ 13 September 1903)
Source: Kabuki 21 website http://www.kabuki21.com/danjuro9.php

Stage names: Ichikawa Danjūrō IX, Kawarazaki Sanshō, Kawarazaki Gonnosuke VII, Kawarazaki Gonjūrō I, Kawarazaki Chōjūrō III

Other name: Ichikawa Jukai II

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX belonged to the triumvirate of stars who dominated the Kabuki world during the Meiji era.  (The two others were Onoe Kikugorō V and Ichikawa Sadanji I.)  He spent lots of time and energy pioneering a new genre called katsureki but the Tôkyô audience was more receptive to his amazing performances in the great roles of Kabuki like Ôboshi Yuranosuke ("Kanadehon Chūshingura"), Kumagai Jirō Naozane ("Kumagai Jin'ya"), Sukeroku ("Sukeroku Yukari no Edo Zakura") or Benkei ("Kanjinchō").

"Ichikawa Danjūrō, the ninth, was the torch-bearer of Kabuki during the long reign of the Emperor Mutsuhito, known as the Meiji era, which endured for forty-five years ( 1868-1912). Danjūrō, the ninth, was the bridge that spanned the sudden gulf which yawned between the traditional past and the uncertain and changing modern world. He may be regarded as the savior of Kabuki during a period when it might have suffered shipwreck, had there not been a man of genius at the helm to guide the craft through the troubled waters." (Zoë Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

Ichikawa Kodanji V (五代目)市川小団次 (18 August 1850 ~ 6 May 1922)
Source: Kabuki 21 website http://www.kabuki21.com/kodanji5.php

Stage names: Ichikawa Kodanji V, Ichikawa Nedanji I

Real name: Suwara Kiyosuke

Ichikawa Kodanji V was a Meiji/Taishō actor, able to play both tachiyaku and onnagata roles. His forte were jitsugotoshi roles. Less brilliant than his amazing father Ichikawa Kodanji IV, he focused on classic dramas and was not involved in any of the reformist experiments which shook the Kabuki world.

Ichikawa Sadanji I
  (初代)市川左団次  (28 October 1842 ~ 7 August 1904)
Source: Kabuki 21 website http://www.kabuki21.com/sadanji1.php

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 Kōda 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)

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #389
 Title (Description) The actors Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (right panel), Ichikawa Kodanji V (center panel) and Ichikawa Sadanji I (left panel) in Ashigara Yama no Ba 足柄山の場 an entr'act 中幕 at the Meji-za 明治座
 Artist  Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
 Signature Toyohara Kunichika hitsu 豊原国周筆 with toshidama seal
 Seal  toshidama seal
 Publication Date September 15, 1896 (Meiji 29)
Akiyama Buemon 秋山 武右衛門 [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 005]
 Carver unknown
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good- full-size, unbacked, joined at seams, light wrinkling and minor soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e; nigao-e; yakusha-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 13 3/4 x 28 7/8 in. (34.9 x 73.3 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Edo-Tokyo Museum (print is pictured above as presented on the website of The Tokyo Digital Museum); The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 007-3064, 007-3065, 007-3066; Japan Arts Council 06088