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Utagawa Kunisada Ichikawa Ichizo

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865

Mirrors as Stylish Collage Pictures: Ichikawa Ichizo III as Dekiboshi no Sankichi
(Imayo oshi-e kagami: Ichikawa Ichizo)

signed Toyokuni ga in Toshidama cartouche, carver's mark hori Take (Yokokawa Takejiro), publisher's seal Shorindo (Fujiokaya Keijiro of Shorindo), with combined censor and date seal Hitsuji-yon, aratame (year of the goat [1859], 4th month, examined)

oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 10 1/4 in., 36.7 by 25.9 cm

The actor Ichikawa Ichizo III (1833-1865) is in the role of Dekiboshi no Sankichi from the play Tanomimasu Soga no Kamigaki as performed at the Morita Theater in the 2nd lunar month of 1859. Two years before this portrait was published, Ichizo was made famous by a bizarre tragedy that took place during another production at the same theater during which a real samurai seated in the audience became so caught up with the performance he leapt to the stage with his sword drawn and attacked the actor. Unfortunately several staff members who tried to assist Ichizo were killed by the deranged samurai, and Ichizo suffered a minor injury, although he was able to appear on stage the following day, and not surprisingly, the grisly affair ensured that the play was a resounding commercial success.

References:
www.kabuki.21.com (on the 1857 attack)
Tokyo Metropolitan Library, accession no. 5114-C025-02
Waseda University Theatre Museum, accession no. 006-3910
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession nos. 49.1764

$850