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Nōgaku hyakuban, Kayoi Komachi


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kayoi Komachi 通小町

(The Courtship of Komachi)

No. 118 from the series Nōgaku hyakuban

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1926

IHL Cat. #284

About This Print

One of 120 prints issued as part of the series Nōgaku hyakuban (One Hundred Prints of Noh), it depicts a scene from the play Kayoi Komachi by the playwright Kanami (1333-1384).  This print was originally released by the publisher Matsuki Heikichi in the fortieth and lastinstallment of prints in this series.  This series' prints were offered in monthly installments consisting of three prints packaged in an envelope with additional descriptive information.1 

The Play - Kayoi Komachi (The Courtship of Komachi) by Kanami

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p.75-76.


Waki - a priest
Tsure - Ono no Komachi
Shite - Fukakusa no Shōshō

A priest who is spending the summer in the mountain village of Yase is brought wood and fruit every day by an unknown woman.  When he asks who she is, he realizes from her reply that she is the ghost of Ono no Komachi, the poetess of old who was so famed for her beauty.  He therefore goes to her grave and prays.  At this, her spirit and that of her most ardent suitor, Fukakusa no Shōshō, appear and tell the priest of the trial Komachi set him.  She promised herself to him if he came to her house every night for a hundred nights, but after braving all manner of obstacles to fulfill his task, he failed on the hundredth night.

1 “The series Nogaku hyakuban (100 No plays) by Tsukioka Kogyo (1869-1927),” Claus-Peter Schulz, Andon 67, Society for Japanese Arts, p. 28.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #284
 Title Kayoi Komachi 通小町 (The Courtship of Komachi)
 Series Nōgaku hyakuban 能楽百番 (One Hundred Prints of Noh or One Hundred Noh Plays)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo, no. 15, p. 170 in The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010.
 Date September 1926
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - slightly trimmed; stains above figures and edge of left margin and to verso; not backed
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban tate-e
 H x W Paper 14 3/4 x 10 in. (37.5 x 25.4 cm)
 Collections This PrintScripps College 2007.1.84; Art Institute of Chicago 1943.834.34; Los Angeles County Museum of Art AC1997.254.23
 Reference Literature 
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