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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Ito Enryu- Nikki Danjo Masanori

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

Eastern Flowers of Rough Stories from the Floating World: Ito Enryu; Nikki Danjo Masanori
(Azuma no nishiki ukiyo kodan: Ito Enryu; Nikki Danjo Masanori)

signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu, with artist's seal Kiri, publisher's seal Hanmoto, Masudaya, Shiba Shinmeimae (Masudaya Ginjiro), and combined censor and date seal Tatsu-ni, aratame (year of the dragon [1868], 2nd lunar month, examined)

oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 9 1/2 in., 36.2 by 24 cm

This character is identified as Nikki Danjo Masanori from a story retold by Ito Enryu (possibly Ito Enryu II, 1801-1855), the deranged villain originally conceived of by the kabuki playwright Nagawa Kamesuke in the play The Precious Incense and Autumn Flowers of Sendai (Meiboku Sendai hagi) which was first staged in 1777, but inspired by a real-life story of treachery and tragedy in the Date clan of Sendai that had taken place over 100 years earlier in 1660.

In the play, Nikki Danjo is the notorious, evil magician capable of transforming himself into a rat who leads a failed coup attempt against the Date household. After the coup has been thwarted, Danjo is found guilty of treason by the counsellor Katsumoto and condemned to death. In this scene, the climactic finale of the play, Danjo attempts to fight his way out of facing punishment, stabbing a loyal Date retainer before being wrestled to the ground and brought to justice.

Brandon & Leiter 2002, pp. 50-52
Herwig & Herwig 2004, pp. 242-249