Ichikawa Ebizo V as Asahina Tobei; Iwai Shijaku I as Tajimaya Onatsu; and Sawamura Tossho I as Omatsuya Seijuro
each sheet signed Gototei Kunisada ga with censor's seal kiwame and publisher's seal of Tsutaya Kichizo (Koeido), ca. 1841
oban tate-e triptych 14 7/8 by 30 in., 37.8 by 76.3 cm
The actors are depicted in their roles from the New Year drama, Koi Zumo Yawaragi Soga which was staged at the Kawarazaki Theater in the first lunar month of 1841. Plays related to the revenge story of the Soga Brothers were traditionally produced at the time of the New Year. There were numerous variations on the theme, but certain characters were expected. In this version, which appears to have be staged only this one time in 1841, Ichikawa Ebizo V (Danjuro VII, 1791-1859) is in the role of Asahina Tobei (in other plays the character is known as Asahina no Saburo or Kobayashi no Asahina), who is variously Soga no Goro's friend and a friend of the villain, Lord Kudo. Iwai Shijaku (Hanshiro VII, 1804-1845) in the remale role of Tajimaya Onatsu in the center sheet holds the spool of string attached to a kite held in the left panel by Sawamura Tossho (Suketakaya Takasuke III, 1802-1853) in the rold of Omatsuya Seijuro. The kite is decorated with the kanji, koi (romantic love), which is the first character of the title of the play.
John Stevenson, Japanese Kite Prints: Selections from the Skinner Collection, 2004, pp. 60-61, no. 19 (on Soga Brothers at New Year)
Waseda University Theatre Museum, reference nos. 101-1933, 101-1934, 101-1935
(inv. no. 10-5386)
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