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Fuku no kami jōruri at the Meiji-za


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Fuku no kami jōruri at the Meiji-za

by Utagawa Kunimasa IV, 1897

IHL Cat. #863

About This Print

A New Year's dance performance titled Fuku no kami staged in January 1897 at the Meiji-za.  Fuku no kami is better known as a Noh play in which the God of Happiness, Fuku no kami, appears to worshipers at a shrine and asks them if they know how to find happiness.  When they reply, "With money," he tells them it is not money, but the way of life upon which happiness depends.  He asks for wine and then dances and sings a song which tells them that the way to find happiness is to make a happy home with one's wife, get up early, and welcome guests with good wine.1

In this print we see several gods and a devil along with other unread characters. 

Right Panel (from right to left):
市川  ??? Ichikawa ??? in an unread role.
市川  壽美蔵 Ichikawa Sumizô V in an unread role.
坂東 秀調 Bandō Shūchō II  in an unread role.

Center Panel (right to left):
市川 小団治 Ichikawa Kodanji V in the role of 大黒天 Daikoku (god of wealth)
市川 米蔵 Ichikawa Yonezō 4.5 in an unread role
市川 権十郎 Ichikawa Gonjūrō in an unread role

Left Panel (right to left):
市川  莚女 Ichikawa Enjō in an unread role.
市川 左団次 Ichikawa Sadanji in the role of 毘沙門天, Bishamonten (the most powerful of the 4 guardian kings, god of war)
市川  ??? Ichikawa ??? in the role of 魔神, a demon.

1 A Guide to Kyogen, Don Kenny, Hinoki Shoten, 1968, p. 61-62.

The Actors Pictured

For background on the actors pictured see their respective entries in the article The Kabuki Actor on this site.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #863
 Title (Description) Fuku no kami jōruri at the Meiji-za 明治座 上るり [浄瑠璃] 福の神
 Artist  Utagawa Kunimasa IV (1848-1920)
Kochoro Hōsai hitsu with Toshidama seal
 Seal  none
 Publication Date January 18, 1897 (Meiji 30)
Fukuda Kumajirō 福田熊次郎; Address Nihobahsi-ku Hasegawachō 19-banchi [Marks: 30-046]
Nisei Hori Ei
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good- full-size; minor soiling; mounting remnants top corners verso of each sheet
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 14 5/8 x 9 7/8 in. (37.1 x 25.1 cm) each sheet
 Collections This Print