Kawarazaki Sanshō, Nakamura Sōjūrō and Bandō Kakitsu in Ōshū Adachigahara, 3rd Act

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Kawarazaki Sanshō, Nakamura Sōjūrō and

Bandō Kakitsu in Ōshū Adachigahara, 3rd Act

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1873

IHL Cat. #360

About This Print

Source: Kabuki 21 website http://www.kabuki21.com/sodehagi.php
Pictured is the final scene, titled "Sodehagi Saimon", of the third act (sandanme) of the Kabuki drama Ōshū Adachi-ga-Hara, which was staged in September 1873 at the Murayamaza in Tokyo.

Pictured are the actors Kawarazaki Sanshō 河原崎三升 in the role of Abe no Munetō 安倍宗任 (left panel); Nakamura Sōjūrō 中村宗十郎 in the roles of Abe no Sadatō 安倍貞任 (middle panel) and Sodehagi 袖萩 (left figure in right panel); and Bandō Kakitsu 坂東家橘 in the role of Hachiman Tarō Yoshiie 八幡太郎 よし家 (right-most figure in right panel.) 

The Walters Art Museum notes on their website:
Abe Sadato, at center, has suddenly thrown off his disguise and revealed his true nature: his wild and disheveled character is conveyed by a wig with hair standing permanently on end. In this famous scene, Sadato is reunited with his wife Sodehagi and his brother Muneto (who is shown on the left), the only remaining members of a family that had been almost completely wiped out nine years previously. The culprit, Yoshiie, whom they have vowed to kill, is shown on the right.     

The Play Ōshū Adachi-ga-Hara and the scene "Sodehagi Saimon"

Sources: Kabuki 21 website http://www.kabuki21.com/sodehagi.php and the Japan Arts Council website Invitation to Kabuki http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/unesco/kabuki/en/5/5_04_04.html

Chikamatsu Hanji's play in five acts Ōshū Adachi-ga-Hara (奥州安達原) was originally written for the puppet theater in 1762. It was adapted for kabuki in February 1763 and staged at the Moritaza. 

The historical background of this play is the zenkunen war, which pitted the Abe clan, ruler of the northern provinces of Japan (Ōshū), against the Minamoto clan. The Minamoto clan, led by Minamoto no Yoriyoshi and his son Minamoto no Yoshiie, defeated the Abe clan, led by Abe no Yoritoki and his two sons, Abe no Sadatō and Abe no Munetō. After the war, the two sons became fugitives and the play is about their actions and their last attempts to take their revenge against Minamoto. 

"Sodehagi Saimon" is the final scene of the third act of Ōshū Adachi-ga-Hara which deals with the deaths of the blind Sodehagi (Sadato's wife) and her father Taira Kenjo, and the attempt by the brothers Sadato and Muneto to enter the mansion and attack Haciman Taro Yoshiie in revenge for his earlier victory over them in battle.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #360
 Title (Description)Kawarazaki Sanshō, Nakamura Sōjūrō and Bandō Kakitsu I in Ōshū Adachi-ga-Hara
奥州安達原 (Adachigahara in Ōshū)
 Artist  Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
 Signature Toyohara Kunichika ga with toshidama seal in left margin
 Publication Date September 27, 1873
森本 順三郎 Morimoto Junzaburō (left most column on scroll) [Marks: Publisher ref. 349]
彫工渡辺氏 Horiku Watanabe shi in right margin
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good- slightly trimmed, backed and joined, minor separation from backing paper, edge fraying where panels are joined
 Genre ukiyo-e; nigao-e; yakusha-e; 芝居絵 shibai-e (drama print)
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 13 5/8 x 28 5/8 in. (34.6 x 72.7 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Tokyo Metropolitan Library M247-020; The Walters Art Museum 95.341