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Kabuki-za Sangatsu Kyogen


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kabuki-za Sangatsu Kyōgen

(Zokusetsu bidan Kōmonki)

by Utagawa Kunimasa IV, 1901

IHL Cat. #846

About This Print

The actors from right to left, Ichikawa Shinjūrō III 市川 新十郎 (1866-1929), Onoe Kikugorō V 尾上 菊五郎 (1844-1903) and Kataoka Ichizō III 片岡 市蔵 (1851-1906) in the play Zokusetsu bidan Kōmonki, staged at the Kabuki-za on March 15, 1901.  While the play is not identified on the print, the title simply saying March Play at the Kabuki-za 歌舞伎座三月狂言, the Tokyo Metropolitan Library database entry for this print provides the play's name, Zokusetsu-bidan Kōmonki (The Popular and Moving Story of Kōmonki). 

The characters played by the actors, as identified in the yellow cartouches next to the actors names, are, from right to left:
仲間ぐづ八 Nakama Guduhachi
かっぱきちぞう Kappa Kichizō
黒沼段右衛門 Kuronuma Danemon

About the Play

Sources: Le kabuki devant la modernité: [1870-1930], Jean-Jacques Tschudin, Lausanne : L'Âge d'Homme, 1995, p 182 (footnote 61) and others.

Zokusetsu-bidan Kōmonki (The Popular and Moving Story of Kōmonki) was a revision by the playwright Fukuchi Ochi (1841-1906) of the play Kōmonki Osana Kōshaku (The Story of Kōmon, A Lecture for Youth) written in 1877 by Kawatake Mokuami.  It tells of the adventures of the historical figure Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628-1700), a daimyo of Mito, responsible for assembling the Mitogaku scholars to compile Dai Nihon shi, a history of Japan, which is credited with the rise of nationalism in Japan. He was popularly known by the name Mito Kōmon.

The Actors Pictured

For background on the actors Ichikawa Shinjūrō, Onoe Kikugorō V and  Kataoka Ichizō III see their respective entries in the article The Kabuki Actor on this site.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #846
 Title (Description) Kabuki-za sangatsu Kyōgen 歌舞伎座三月狂言 (March Play at the Kabuki-za);
 Note: The name of the particular play is not seen on the print but is identified in the Tokyo Metropolitan Library database as Zokusetsu bidan Kōmanki 俗説美談黄門記 (The Popular Moving Story of Kōmanki)
 Artist  Utagawa Kunimasa IV (1848-1920)
 Signature Kochoro Hōsai hitsu with Baidō seal
 Seal  rectangular Baidō seal
 Publication Date March 1901 (Meiji 34, 3rd month 明治三十四年三月)
Fukuda Hatsujirō (福田初次郎) located at (Tokyo Nihonbashi Hasegawachō 19-banchi (日本橋区艮谷川町十九番地) [Marks: seal 30-062; pub. ref. 070]

三卋彫栄 Sansei Hori Ei (carver Ei III)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good- margins trimmed; red ink offsetting in right panel; minor soiling; backed
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 14 x 28 1/4 in. (35.6 x 71.8 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Tokyo Metropolitan Library 和-別031(1-3)