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Nōgaku hyakuban, Sotoba Komachi

Nōgaku hyakuban, Ikarikazuki

Japanese Color Woodblock

Sotoba Komachi 卒都婆小町

(Komachi on the Gravepost)

No. 28 from the series Nōgaku hyakuban

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1923

IHL Cat. #154

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 Sotoba Komachi by the playwright Kanami (1333-1384) showing Komachi in the Court hat and travelling-cloak of Shōshō.  This print was originally released by the publisher Matsuki Heikichi in the tenth installment 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 

For another print by the artist depicting this play see Nōgakuzue, Sotoba Komachi.  For another treatment of this story see Gravemarker Moon by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892).

One of Thirteen Prints from The Lavenberg Collection

loaned to the Portland Art Museum for the

Special Exhibition

NOH Dance Drama of the Samurai NOV 17, 2012 – FEB 24, 2013

The Play - Sotoba Komachi (Komachi on the Gravepost) by Kanami

On their way to the capital, a group of priests come across an old beggar woman sitting on a wooden grave marker (sotoba).  They try to chase her away, admonishing her with scriptures.  She reproaches them with even more learned quotations from scripture.  The priests are surprised and bow low in apology.  She reveals that she is Ono Komachi, the once beautiful and famous poetess.

Suddenly she is seized by the ghost of Fukakusa, the suitor who she had forced to visit her one hundred nights to gain her love.  She reenacts his miserable visits and subsequent death, in a dance.  The ghost finally leaves her, and she becomes calm once more.2

CHORUS (speaking for KOMACHI, while she, dressed as her lover Shōshō, mimes the night-journey).

Pulling down over my ears the tall, nodding hat,
Tying over my head the long sleeves of my hunting cloak,
Hidden from the eyes of men,
In moonlight, in darkness,
On rainy nights I traveled; on windy nights,
Under a shower of leaves; when the snow was deep,


And when water dripped at the roof-eaves,--tok, tok . . .3

1 “The series Nogaku hyakuban (100 No plays) by Tsukioka Kogyo (1869-1927),” Claus-Peter Schulz, Andon  67, Society for Japanese Arts, p. 28.
2 Noh, Daiji Maruoka & Tatsuo Yoshikoshi, Hoikusha Publishing Co., Ltd., March 1970, p. 66.
3 The No Plays of Japan, Arthur Waley, BiblioLife, 2009 (originally 1921) p. 114.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #154
 Title Sotoba Komachi 卒都婆小町 (Komachi on the Gravepost)
 Series Nōgaku hyakuban 能楽百番 (One Hundred Prints of Noh or One Hundred Noh Plays)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo, seal no. 3, 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 April 1923
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - backed and trimmed
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous Portland Art Museum loan number L2012.113.9
 Format oban tate-e
 H x W Paper 14 5/8 x 9 5/8 in. (37.1 x 24.4 cm)
 Collections This PrintScripps 2007.1.15; Los Angeles County Museum of Art AC 1997.254.14; Art Institute of Chicago 1943.833.15
 Reference Literature The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, fig. 8, p. 15.