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Nōkaguzue, Mochizuki


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Mochizuki 望月

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1898

Nōgakuzue, Ominameshi

IHL Cat. #1646

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh).  The print depicts the climatic scene in the play Mochizuki sometimes attributed to the playwright Sa-ami (15th c.) "Thirteen years ago, the evil Mochizuki no Akinaga had killed Yasuda no Tomoharu. Now Mochizuki is staying at an inn, having just returned from Kyoto where he claimed Yasuda’s property. Unbeknownst to the murderer, the innkeeper Kozawa had been a retainer of Yasuda. Also at the inn are Yasuda’s widow and son. The three plot revenge: they offer to entertain Mochizuki. While the widow sings, her son plays a drum and then dances (shown at right). Kozawa appears dressed as a lion dancer (shown at left) and is able to approach and stab Mochizuki to death."1

For another depiction of this play by Kōgyo see Nōga taikan, Mochizuki.

For background on the Noh theater see the article on this site "Noh - A Brief Summary by Beata Kubiak Ho-Chi".

1 Commentary on the website of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College http://web-kiosk.scrippscollege.edu/Obj21710?sid=83782&x=1666787

The Play - Mochizuki 望月

Source: The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, p. 108.

Some years before the events in this play, Yasuda no Tomoharu was murdered by Mochizuki no Akinaga (waki).  Tomoharu's retainer Kozawa no Tomofusa (shite) has subsequently become an innkeeper in Moriyama.  One night, a woman (tsure) and her child (kokata) arrive at the inn asking for shelter.  He recognizes them as the widow and child of the former master; he identifies himself and they have a joyous reunion.  Later, Mochizuki happens to seek lodging at the inn on his return from the capital, where he has successfully managed to obtain the rights to his victim's lands.  Kozawa and his master's widow decide to take advantage of the fact the Mochizuki does not know who they are.  They plan to take their revenge while entertaining their foe.  The mother sings a song about how a son kills his former father's enemy, and the son dances.  Kozawa then performs a lion dance.  Mochizuki, pleased by the song and weakened by drink, falls asleep, and is killed.

Right Margin Detail (summary of play)

click on image for detail

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1646
 Title Mochizuki 望月
 Series Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
 Kōgyo 耕漁 (see image below)
Red Kōgyo seal in circle
Printed on June 30, 1898 / Issued on July 5, 1898
Meiji 31st year, 6th month, 30th day / Meiji 31st year, 7th month, 5th day
明治三十一年六月卅一日印刷   仝年七月五日発行

The ARC database entry for their print arcUP0929 carries a later date of issue - April 5, 1901. 
 Edition unknown
Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 9 9/16 x 14 1/4 in. (24.3 x 36.2 cm)
 H x W Image
 9 x 13 1/16 in. (22.9 x 33.2 cm) area within printed black border
 Collections This Print University of Pittsburgh Special Collections 20091209-kogyo-0257; Scripps College Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery 2010.4.38; Art Institute Chicago 1939.2258.86; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University AcNo.arcUP0929 CoGNo.arcUP0840 AlGNo.arcUP0840
 Reference Literature The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, p. 108